Document Type : Original Article
1 Department of Medical Laboratory Science, College of medical & applied science, Charmo University-l, Chamchamal, Kurdistan Region-Iraq
2 Biology Department, College of Science, University of Sulaimani, Sulaimani
Corn or Maize product is regarded as one of the essential products in the world and stands third product after the rice and wheat crops. Different fungal pathogens attack corn plants; one of them is ear rot, brought on by Fusarium species and whose occurrence is primarily influenced by environmental factors. In order to isolate and identify Fusarium species from corn plants and their prevalence, 50 samples of corn were collected during September, October, and November of 2021 from 30 corn fields in 14 regions of different places in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. From all samples, 39 isolates of Fusarium were detected and based on morphological characteristics, six other species of Fusarium were identified, namely F. verticillioides (33.34%), F. proliferatum (25.64%), F. oxysporum (12.82%), F. incarnatum and F. equiseti (10.25% each), then F. fujikuroi (7.7%). The most prevalent species was F. verticillioides which was isolated from seven corn fields and significantly higher than all other isolated species. All Fusarium isolates were also molecularly identified depending on amplifying the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) universal region using forward ITS1 and reverse ITS4 primers and indicated DNA fragments ranged from 550 to 570 bp. The PCR fragments of the amplified ITS region were sequenced, aligned and registered in NCBI GeneBank with specified accession numbers. The phylogenetic tree and all analyzes were performed using the MEGA program version 11.0.13. The current study concluded that the corn fields in the Kurdistan region are infected with different Fusarium species, and the most common species is F. verticillioides. As well as the Fusarium species in the Kurdistan region have close evolutionary history to the same species in other countries. Thus, the study recommends more research to investigate the occurrence of toxigenic Fusarium species associated with cereal grains in the region.