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Inoculum density of sclerotium cepivorum and the incidence of white rot of onion allium cepa and garlic allium sativum

Inoculum density of sclerotium cepivorum and the incidence of white rot of onion allium cepa and garlic allium sativum

Phytopathology 70(1): 64-69

An improved soil assay for natural populations of S. cepivorum detected as few as 0.001 sclerotia/g of soil. Survey data indicated that natural populations of sclerotia remained at 0.001-1.0 sclerotia/g of soil for up to 8 yr, but decreased to 0.001-0.01 sclerotia/g of soil 10-15 yr after Allium spp. crop plants were grown. No sclerotia were recovered from soil in 2 fields in which Allium crops were grown 17-20 yr prior to assay. Nearly all intact sclerotia recovered from infested soils germinated in soil when stimulated by garlic extract. Sclerotia which germinated were infective. A rapid, selective viability test was developed based on the characteristic growth of S. cepivorum on water agar. Disease incidence was dependent on preemergence inoculum density in uniform inoculum density trials in different soils from several areas of California [USA]. Preemergence populations of .ltoreq. 0.001, 0.001-0.01, 0.01-0.1 and .gtoreq. 0.1 sclerotia/g of soil resulted in .ltoreq. 10%, 10-85%, 85-100% and 100% incidence of disease in onion and garlic plants by harvest, respectively. At inoculum densities greater than 1.0 sclerotia/g of soil most plants were killed soon after emergence. At lower inoculum densities, distinct clusters of plants became diseased as the pathogen spread from plant to plant. Disease loci appeared progressively later and with reduced frequency with decreasing inoculum density. Data from a naturally infested field were similar to those obtained from controlled experiments. Sclerotia populations declined, presumably due to germination, during the season in soil planted with onion or garlic. In plots infested at preemergence with as few as 0.00004 and as many as 10.0 sclerotia/g of soil, 0.4-1.0 sclerotia/g of soil were recovered 6 mo. after harvest; up to 9.2 sclerotia/g of soil were recovered 6 mo. after harvest from plots infested between 0.001-0.01 sclerotia/g of soil at preemergence.

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