Fusarium is a large genus of filamentous fungi. widely distributed in soil and associated with plants. Most species are harmless saprobes, and are relatively abundant members of the soil microbial community. Some species produce mycotoxins in cereal crops that can affect human and animal health if they enter the food chain. The main toxins produced by these Fusarium species are fumonisins and trichothecenes. Despite most species apparently being harmless (some existing on the skin as commensal members of the skin flora), some Fusarium species and subspecific groups are among the most important fungal pathogens of plants and animals.
Some species may cause a range of opportunistic infections in humans. In humans with normal immune systems, fusarial infections may occur in the nails (onychomycosis) and in the cornea (keratomycosis or mycotic keratitis). In humans whose immune systems are weakened in a particular way, (neutropenia, i.e., very low neutrophils count), aggressive fusarial infections penetrating the entire body and bloodstream (disseminated infections) may be caused by members of the Fusarium solani complex, Fusarium oxysporum, Fusarium verticillioides, Fusarium proliferatum and, rarely, other fusarial species.
Fusarium venenatum is produced industrially for use as a human food and is marketed under the name Quorn in Europe and North America.
Some consumers of fusarium products have shown food allergies similar in nature to peanut and other food allergies.