Here we go again…

Magnaporthe oryzae In January I wrote about Molecular Plant Pathology’s top 10 plant viruses in molecular plant pathology. Everyone likes a good list, but I had no idea it would be so controversial. Well now they’re at it again, this time with the top 10 fungal pathogens in molecular plant pathology:

  1. Magnaporthe oryzae
  2. Botrytis cinerea
  3. Puccinia spp.
  4. Fusarium graminearum
  5. Fusarium oxysporum
  6. Blumeria graminis
  7. Mycosphaerella graminicola
  8. Colletotrichum spp.
  9. Ustilago maydis
  10. Melampsora lini

Well, I like Botrytis cinerea and I like Fusarium graminearum, but which is best? There’s only one way to find out:

The Top 10 fungal pathogens in molecular plant pathology. Molecular Plant Pathology 06 March 2012, doi: 10.1111/j.1364-3703.2012.2011.00783.x
The aim of this review was to survey all fungal pathologists with an association with the journal Molecular Plant Pathology and ask them to nominate which fungal pathogens they would place in a ‘Top 10’ based on scientific/economic importance. The survey generated 495 votes from the international community, and resulted in the generation of a Top 10 fungal plant pathogen list for Molecular Plant Pathology. The Top 10 list includes, in rank order, (1) Magnaporthe oryzae; (2) Botrytis cinerea; (3) Puccinia spp.; (4) Fusarium graminearum; (5) Fusarium oxysporum; (6) Blumeria graminis; (7) Mycosphaerella graminicola; (8) Colletotrichum spp.; (9) Ustilago maydis; (10) Melampsora lini, with honourable mentions for fungi just missing out on the Top 10, including Phakopsora pachyrhizi and Rhizoctonia solani. This article presents a short resumΓ© of each fungus in the Top 10 list and its importance, with the intent of initiating discussion and debate amongst the plant mycology community, as well as laying down a bench-mark. It will be interesting to see in future years how perceptions change and what fungi will comprise any future Top 10.

AJ Cann

Alan Cann is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Leicester and formerly Internet Consulting Editor for AoB.


  • Not contentious at all!! Well, I suppose I don’t particularly care about fungi – not small enough to be interesting, or mostly big enough to look at – so any list would be OK…B-)

  • Just had this fantastic feedback from someone on our Top 10 articles

    These lists and the accompanying articles are great teaching resourses –
    what better way for students to learn about plant pathogens than to
    pick one from the list and study it? Students can write reviews or
    “press relases” on their pathogen, or make posters, or give five-slide
    talks. We’ve even heard of courses where students write songs or short
    plays to share what they’ve learned – engagement comes in many forms!

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