Charcoal rot of soybean is caused by the fungal pathogen Macrophomina phaseolina. Effective and reliable techniques to evaluate soybean for resistance to this fungus are needed to work toward a management scheme that would utilize host resistance. Three experiments were conducted to investigate the use of a cut-stem inoculation technique to evaluate soybean genotypes for resistance to M. phaseolina. The first experiment compared aggressiveness of M. phaseolina isolates collected from soybean on different soybean genotypes. Significant (P < 0.05) differences among the isolates and genotypes for relative area under disease progress curve (RAUDPC) were found without a significant isolate–genotype interaction. The second experiment compared 14 soybean genotypes inoculated with M. phaseolina in multiple trials conducted in two environments, the greenhouse and growth chamber. Significant (P < 0.05) differences among environments and highly significant (P < 0.001) differences among soybean genotypes for RAUDPC were found. The environment–genotype interaction was nonsignificant (P > 0.05). Soybean genotypes DT97-4290, DT98-7553, DT98-17554, and DT99-16864 had significantly (P < 0.05) lower RAUDPC than 7 of the 14 genotypes. The third experiment evaluated resistance in selected Phaseolus spp. and soybean genotypes. The range of RAUDPC for Phaseolus spp. was similar to that of soybean. The Phaseolus lunatus ‘Bush Baby Lima’ had significantly (P < 0.05) lower RAUDPC than P. vulgaris genotypes evaluated. The cut-stem inoculation technique, which has several advantages over field tests, successfully distinguished differences in aggressiveness among M. phaseolina isolates and relative differences among soybean genotypes for resistance to M. phaseolina comparable with results of field tests.
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