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Suppression of Specific Apple Root Pathogens by Brassica napus Seed Meal Amendment Regardless of Glucosinolate Content

July 2001 , Volume 91 , Number  7
Pages  673 - 679

Mark Mazzola , David M. Granatstein , Donald C. Elfving , and Kent Mullinix

First author: USDA-ARS, Wenatchee, WA; second and third authors: Washington State University, TFREC, Wenatchee; and fourth author: Wenatchee Valley College, Wenatchee, WA

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Accepted for publication 28 March 2001.

The impact of Brassica napus seed meal on the microbial complex that incites apple replant disease was evaluated in greenhouse trials. Regardless of glucosinolate content, seed meal amendment at a rate of 0.1% (vol/vol) significantly enhanced growth of apple and suppressed apple root infection by Rhizoctonia spp. and Pratylenchus penetrans. High glucosinolate B. napus cv. Dwarf Essex seed meal amendments did not consistently suppress soil populations of Pythium spp. or apple root infection by this pathogen. Application of a low glucosinolate containing B. napus seed meal at a rate of 1.0% (vol/vol) resulted in a significant increase in recovery of Pythium spp. from apple roots, and a corresponding reduction in apple seedling root biomass. When applied at lower rates, B. napus seed meal amendments enhanced populations of fluorescent Pseudomonas spp., but these bacteria were not recovered from soils amended with seed meal at a rate of 2% (vol/vol). Seed meal amendments resulted in increased soil populations of total bacteria and actinomycetes. B. napus cv. Dwarf Essex seed meal amendments were phytotoxic to apple when applied at a rate of 2% (vol/vol), and phytotoxicity was not diminished when planting was delayed for as long as 12 weeks after application. These findings suggest that B. napus seed meal amendments can be a useful tool in the management of apple replant disease and, in the case of Rhizoctonia spp., that disease control operates through mechanisms other than production of glucosinolate hydrolysis products.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2001