Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, 1630 Linden Drive, Madison 53706
The interactive effects of concomitant infection by the nematode Pratylenchus penetrans and the fungus Verticillium dahliae on symptom expression in Russet Burbank potato was studied in growth chamber experiments. Treatments were P. penetrans at three initial densities, V. dahliae at one inoculum density, the combination of the nematode at these three densities and the fungus, and a noninfested control. Gas exchange was measured nondestructively in leaf cohorts of different ages, one to three times weekly, with a LI-COR portable photosynthesis system. The single-pathogen treatments had no effect on assimilation or transpiration rates, but joint infection had a significant impact. In concomitant infection, photosynthesis was impaired more than transpiration, so estimates of leaf health were based on carbon assimilation rates only. Reductions in assimilation rate were apparent before the onset of visual symptoms. Assimilation rates decreased as much as 44% in the top, and newest, leaves of concomitantly infected plants, compared to rates in control plants. Even so, the health of newly produced leaves did not become progressively worse through time. With light use efficiency less than 0.20 mol of CO2 fixed per mol of photosynthetically active radiation used as the criterion for disease incidence, disease progressed acropetally from the oldest to the youngest leaves. In plants infected with P. penetrans (0.8 nematodes per cm3 of soil) in combination with V. dahliae, all leaves in cohorts 1 and 2 were symptomatic by 45 days after planting, and leaves in cohorts 3 to 6 became symptomatic at weekly intervals thereafter. For the control and single-pathogen treatments, the first time that light use efficiency fell below 0.20 in all leaves in cohort 1 was 71 days after planting. Concomitant infection reduced leaf life span by about 3 weeks. Both visual and physiological symptom expression were invariant to differences in initial nematode inoculum densities ranging from 0.8 to 2.5 nematodes per cm3 of soil in one experiment and from 1.3 to 4.1 nematodes per cm3 of soil in a second experiment.
potato early dying disease,