Detection of Sclerotium cepivorum in garlic in New York


2016 to 2017


The garlic industry in New York has gone through rapid growth in recent years and has an estimated value of $25M at the farm gate. White rot disease, caused by the fungus Sclerotium cepivorum is a destructive disease of Allium spp. It causes major losses to onion and garlic worldwide and occurs in many parts of USA, but is of restricted distribution. The disease has not been reported in NY for many years. However in 2016, samples of garlic from several farms in NY were received from CCE agents and were diagnosed as S. cepivorum.


White rot is a particularly damaging disease of Allium. The disease is capable of causing complete crop loss and produces survival structures which survive many years, making the disease difficult to eradicate once it is present on-farm. The finding of S. cepivorum is of importance in terms of preventing spread between garlic farms and to onion farms.


Support has been given to CCE agents in terms of identification of S. cepivorum, including culturing the fungus, DNA extraction and sequencing of the ITS region to confirm identity. A fact sheet was prepared in association with Cornell Co-Operative Extension educators to advise growers of the issue.


Growers with white rot have been advised of practices to adopt to manage the disease on-farm. All garlic growers have been advised of methods of avoiding introduction of the disease onto their farms.

Submitted by: 

  • Hay, Frank S

Researchers involved: 

  • Hay, Frank S
  • Stewart, Crystal
  • Hadad, Robert G

International focus: 

  • United States of America

United States focus: 

  • New York