The fungi Colletotrichum coccodes and Verticillium dahliae are two pathogens of potato which are prevalent in potato field soils and seed tubers. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of seed lot infection by C. coccodes and V. dahliae on disease severity and yield using infested seed lots and fields with and without potato in their recent cropping histories. Greater incidence of C. coccodes in seed led to more root colonization in 2008 (both field types) but not in 2007 and did not influence tuber quantity or yield. Incidence of infection in seed lots by V. dahliae was not related to canopy necrosis, infection of progeny tubers, or yield. However, seed lots exhibited more V. dahliae aboveground vascular colonization, canopy necrosis, infested plant debris, and infected progeny tubers in 5-year potato rotation fields compared with long potato rotation fields. In general, foliar disease symptoms and yield reductions were not related to levels of either pathogen in seed lots. Symptoms of both diseases were more severe and yields were lower in fields with potato in their recent cropping histories, emphasizing the importance of soilborne inoculum in the development of black dot and Verticillium wilt of potato.
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