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Grafting eggplant to manage soilborne diseases: An international perspective.
S. A. MILLER (1), M. A. Rahman (2), M. S. Nahar (2), G. Norton (3), E. Rajotte (4). (1) The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH, U.S.A.; (2) Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Joydebpur, Gazipur, Bangladesh; (3) Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, U.S.A.; (4) Penn State University, University Park, PA, U.S.A.

Eggplant (<i>Solanum melongena</i>) is one of the most important vegetable crops in South Asia, widely produced on marginal soils in tropical climates by resource-limited smallholder farmers. Bacterial wilt, caused by <i>Ralstonia solanacearum</i>, and root knot, caused by <i>Meloidogyne</i> spp., are arguably the most important soilborne diseases of eggplant in this region. In Bangladesh, losses of 30-100% due to bacterial wilt in eggplant have been reported. Consumer preferences for eggplant fruit shape, size and color vary widely within the region, resulting in a least 100 locally or regionally preferred varieties in Bangladesh alone. Therefore disease-resistant varieties released from breeding programs are not always accepted by farmers and consumers. Several rootstocks have been identified that confer resistance to one or both of these diseases, including <i>S. melongena</i> EG203 (AVRDC), and wild <i>Solanum</i> species <i>S. torvum</i> (turkey berry) and <i>S. sisymbriifolium</i> (sticky nightshade). The local variety ‘Chega’ grafted onto <i>S. sisymbriifolium</i> rootstock survived 22-29 days longer, produced 250-280% more fruit and provided 3-4X higher income than non-grafted ‘Chega’ in bacterial wilt-infested fields in two locations in Bangladesh. The potential for, and challenges to, widespread adoption of grafting technology among smallholder farmers will be presented.<p><p>Keywords:

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