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Development of Crown and Root Rot Disease of Tomato Under Irrigation with Saline Water

December 2005 , Volume 95 , Number  12
Pages  1,438 - 1,444

Shachaf Triky-Dotan , Uri Yermiyahu , Jaacov Katan , and Abraham Gamliel

First and fourth authors: Laboratory for Pest Management Research, Institute of Agricultural Engineering, ARO, The Volcani Center, P.O. Box 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel; second author: Soil and Water Research Unit, Gilat Research Center, ARO, D.N. Negev 85280, Israel; and third author: Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Rehovot 76100, Israel

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Accepted for publication 15 August 2005.

We studied the effect of water salinity on the incidence and severity of crown and root rot disease of tomato, as well as on the pathogen and on the plant's response to the pathogen. Irrigation with saline water significantly increased disease severity in tomato transplants inoculated with Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. radicis-lycopersici, and mineral fertilization further increased it. In one field experiment, disease incidence in plots irrigated with saline water (electrical conductivity [EC] = 3.2 ± 0.1 dS m-1) and in those irrigated with fresh water (EC = 0.4 ± 0.1 dS m-1) was 75 and 38%, respectively. Disease onset was earlier and yield was lower in plots irrigated with saline water. In a second field experiment, final disease incidence 250 days after planting, was 12% in plants which had been irrigated with saline water (EC = 4.6 ± 0.1 dS m-1) and 4% in those irrigated with fresh water (EC = 1.2 ± 0.1 dS m-1). Irrigation of tomato transplants with 20 mM NaCl did not inhibit plant development, but partial inhibition was observed at higher NaCl concentrations. Growth of the pathogen in culture or survival of conidia added to soil were not affected by saline water. Plants which were preirrigated with saline water were more severely diseased than those preirrigated with tap water. It was concluded that disease increases effected by saline water are associated with the latter's effect on plant response.

Additional keywords: soilborne pathogens , stress .

© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society