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A Rapid Inoculation Technique for Assessing Pathogenicity of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum and F. o. melonis on Cucurbits. S. Freeman, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Riverside 92521-0122. R. J. Rodriguez, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Riverside 92521-0122. Plant Dis. 77:1198-1201. Accepted for publication 21 July 1993. Copyright 1993 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/PD-77-1198.

A continuous-dip inoculation technique for rapid assessment of pathogenicity of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum and F. o. melonis was developed. The method, adapted from a similar procedure for determining pathogenicity of Colletotrichum magna (causal agent of anthracnose of cucurbits), involves constant exposure of seedlings and cuttings (seedlings with root systems excised) of watermelon and muskmelon to conidial suspensions contained in small scintillation vials. Disease development in intact seedlings corresponded well to disease responses observed with the standard root-dip inoculation/pot assay. The continuous-dip inoculation technique resulted in rapid disease development, with 50% of watermelon cuttings dying after 46 days of exposure to F. o. niveum. A mortality of 30% also was observed in watermelon cuttings exposed to conidia of F. o. melonis, as opposed to only a 02.5% mortality in seedlings with intact roots. Disease response was similar with muskmelon seedlings and cuttings continuously dip-inoculated with F. o. melonis isolates. However, no disease symptoms were observed in muskmelon seedlings or cuttings inoculated with F. o. niveum. Four nonpathogenic isolates of F. oxysporum did not cause disease symptoms in either watermelon or muskmelon cuttings and seedlings when assayed by this technique. The proposed method enables a rapid screening of pathogenicity and requires less time, labor, and greenhouse space than the standard root-dip inoculation/pot assay. The reliability of the continuous-dip inoculation technique is limited, however, to exposure of intact seedlings at a concentration of 1 106 conidia per milliliter; the method is not accurate at this range for excised seedlings.