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Integrated Management of Fusarium Wilt of Chickpea with Sowing Date, Host Resistance, and Biological Control

September 2004 , Volume 94 , Number  9
Pages  946 - 960

Blanca B. Landa , Juan A. Navas-Cortés , and Rafael M. Jiménez-Díaz

First author: Departamento de Agronomía, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos y de Montes (ETSIAM), Universidad de Córdoba (UCO), Apartado 3048, 14080 Córdoba, Spain; second author: Departamento de Protección de Cultivos, Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible (IAS), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Apartado 4084, 14080 Córdoba, Spain; and third author: Departamento de Protección de Cultivos, IAS-CSIC and Departamento de Agronomía, ETSIAM-UCO, Córdoba, Spain

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Accepted for publication 29 April 2004.

A 3-year experiment was conducted in field microplots infested with Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. ciceris race 5 at Córdoba, Spain, in order to assess efficacy of an integrated management strategy for Fusarium wilt of chickpea that combined the choice of sowing date, use of partially resistant chickpea genotypes, and seed and soil treatments with biocontrol agents Bacillus megaterium RGAF 51, B. subtilis GB03, nonpathogenic F. oxysporum Fo 90105, and Pseudomonas fluorescens RG 26. Advancing the sowing date from early spring to winter significantly delayed disease onset, reduced the final disease intensity (amount of disease in a microplot that combines disease incidence and severity, expressed as a percentage of the maximum possible amount of disease in that microplot), and increased chickpea seed yield. A significant linear relationship was found between disease development over time and weather variables at the experimental site, with epidemics developing earlier and faster as mean temperature increased and accumulated rainfall decreased. Under conditions highly conducive for Fusarium wilt development, the degree of disease control depended primarily on choice of sowing date, and to a lesser extent on level of resistance of chickpea genotypes to F. oxysporum f. sp. ciceris race 5, and the biocontrol treatments. The main effects of sowing date, partially resistant genotypes, and biocontrol agents were a reduction in the rate of epidemic development over time, a reduction of disease intensity, and an increase in chickpea seedling emergence, respectively. Chickpea seed yield was influenced by all three factors in the study. The increase in chickpea seed yield was the most consistent effect of the biocontrol agents. However, that effect was primarily influenced by sowing date, which also determined disease development. Effectiveness of biocontrol treatments in disease management was lowest in January sowings, which were least favorable for Fusarium wilt. Sowing in February, which was moderately favorable for wilt development, resulted in the greatest increase in seed yield by the biocontrol agents. In March sowings, which were most conducive for the disease, the biocontrol agents delayed disease onset and increased seedling emergence. B. subtilis GB03 and P. fluorescens RG 26, applied either alone or each in combination with nonpathogenic F. oxysporum Fo 90105, were the most effective treatments at suppressing Fusarium wilt, or delaying disease onset and increasing seed yield, respectively. The importance of integrating existing control practices, partially effective by themselves, with other control measures to achieve appropriate management of Fusarium wilt and increase of seed yield in chickpea in Mediterranean-type environments is demonstrated by the results of this study.

Additional keywords: Cicer arietinum, metalaxyl, principal components analysis, quantitative epidemiology, seed treatments, weather conditions.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2004