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Use of a Nitrate-Nonutilizing Mutant and Selective Media to Examine Population Dynamics of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. spinaciae in Soil

September 2003 , Volume 93 , Number  9
Pages  1,173 - 1,181

Toshiaki Takehara , Katsuto Kuniyasu , Mitsutaka Mori , and Hiroshi Hagiwara

First, second, and fourth authors: Soil-borne Disease Laboratory, National Agricultural Research Center, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8666, Japan; and third author: Kagawa Prefectural Agricultural Experiment Station, Takamatsu, Kagawa 761-8078, Japan

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Accepted for publication 30 April 2003.

Determining the population density of the spinach wilt pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. spinaciae in soil with conventional Fusarium-selective media is quite difficult because nonpathogenic strains of F. oxysporum also grow on those media and are indistinguishable from the pathogen. Therefore, a nitrate-nonutilizing (nit) mutant of the pathogen and corresponding selective media were tested in an experimental approach to determine the population density of the pathogen. Colony forming units of the pathogen were countable after soil-dilution plating onto nit mutant-selective media MMCPA, CMP, and CGMBP. Colony forming units of wild-type Fusarium spp. were countable using a wildtype Fusarium-selective medium, GMBP. By combining nit mutant- and wild-type-selective media, the population densities of pathogenic and nonpathogenic F. oxysporum in the same soil could be measured selectively. This method was useful in studying population dynamics of the pathogen after different soil treatments. Soil disinfested with hot water or chloropicrin was amended with the nit mutant pathogen, and subsequent changes in population densities of the pathogen were compared with those in nontreated field soil. The pathogen rapidly proliferated in disinfested soil and wilt developed faster than in nontreated soil. When a nonpathogenic isolate of F. oxysporum was added at high density to sterilized soil prior to the pathogen, growth of the pathogen was greatly suppressed. Nonpathogenic F. oxysporum could not, however, reduce the density of preexisting pathogen.

Additional keywords: hot-water disinfestation of soil.

© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society