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Edaphic Soil Levels of Mineral Nutrients, pH, Organic Matter, and Cationic Exchange Capacity in the Geocaulosphere Associated with Potato Common Scab

September 2007 , Volume 97 , Number  9
Pages  1,071 - 1,082

George Lazarovits, Jacquelyn Hill, Greg Patterson, Kenneth L. Conn, and Nigel S. Crump

First, second, and fourth authors: Southern Crop Protection and Food Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 1391 Sandford Street, London, ON, N5V 4T3, Canada; third author: A&L Canada Laboratories Inc., 2136 Jetstream Road, London, ON, N5V 3P5, Canada; and fifth author: Primary Industries Research Victoria, Department of Primary Industries, Private Bag 15, Ferntree Gully Delivery Centre, Victoria, 3156, Australia.

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Accepted for publication 7 March 2007.

In order to determine possible relationships between geocaulosphere soil properties and severity of common scab of potato caused by Streptomyces scabies, soils were collected from representative commercial potato fields in Canada: in Simcoe and Dufferin Counties, Ontario and across Prince Edward Island (PEI) in August 2004. Soils immediately adjacent to tubers were sampled and analyzed for select edaphic factors and for pathogen presence using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests with primers that amplify a region of the TxtA gene involved in regulating the biosynthesis of the thaxtomin toxin family. Individual tubers were assessed visually for scab severity. The relationships between soil chemical factors and disease severity were investigated for each region to detect the strongest relationships. Principal component analysis revealed a distinctive clustering of samples with respect to disease severity in PEI but not in Ontario soils. Total and percent saturation of K (%K) were the only factors found associated with high disease severity in soils from both provinces. In PEI soils, pH, Mg, Ca, Cu, and %K, %Mg, %Ca, and %Na were associated with high disease severity, whereas cation exchange capacity (CEC) and Al were correlated with low disease severity soils. In Ontario, high Mn content was strongly correlated with low disease severity soils, whereas %K and organic matter content were correlated with disease severity. Partitioning samples into presence or absence of the TxtA PCR product with corresponding high or low severity showed further significant relationships in the data. There was an excellent correlation between Streptomyces spp. presence as detected by PCR and disease severity in PEI soils; however, the relationship was not as clear in Ontario soils, where many PCR-positive soils had low disease incidence. Principal component and partial least square analysis indicated that disease severity was predicted by soil factors such as organic matter, CEC, pH, Al, %Ca, %Mg, and %K for PEI but not for Ontario soils. The data reveal that the relationship between scab severity and soil chemical components is complex and potentially soil specific.

Additional keywords: multivariate analysis, potato scab, soil nutrients.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2007