Two isolates of Verticillium dahliae, a black microsclerotial isolate and an isolate from potassium deficient cotton plants that forms white colonies on agar media, were examined for their effects on the potassium content of cotton plants. The potassium content of petioles from fully expanded leaves collected at random from branches 6 to 7 nodes below the terminal node were monitored during July and August in 1993 to 1995. Potassium contents of petioles from plants inoculated with V. dahliae did not differ significantly from plants injected with sterile water until the plants were nearing peak boll load. Both isolates caused a gradual development of potassium deficiency symptoms in leaves of inoculated plants and a decrease in petiole potassium, often accompanied by chlorosis and necrosis typical of Verticillium wilt. These results suggest that infection of cotton plants by V. dahliae causes an impairment in the uptake and translocation of potassium that is often associated with the development of potassium deficiency symptoms in leaves of plants with large boll loads.
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