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Temperature, Moisture, and Fungicide Effects in Managing Rhizoctonia Root and Crown Rot of Sugar Beet

July 2010 , Volume 100 , Number  7
Pages  689 - 697

Melvin D. Bolton, Lee Panella, Larry Campbell, and Mohamed F. R. Khan

First author: United States Department of Agriculture--Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Northern Crop Science Laboratory, Fargo, ND; second author: USDA-ARS, Crops Research Laboratory, Fort Collins, CO; third author: USDA-ARS, Northern Crop Science Laboratory, Fargo; and fourth author: Department of Plant Pathology, North Dakota State University, Fargo, and University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.

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Accepted for publication 31 March 2010.

Rhizoctonia solani AG-2-2 is the causal agent of Rhizoctonia root and crown rot in sugar beet; however, recent increases in disease incidence and severity were grounds to reevaluate this pathosystem. To assess the capacity at which other anastomosis groups (AGs) are able to infect sugar beet, 15 AGs and intraspecific groups (ISGs) were tested for pathogenicity on resistant (‘FC708 CMS’) and susceptible (‘Monohikari’) seedlings and 10-week-old plants. Several AGs and ISGs were pathogenic on seedlings regardless of host resistance but only AG-2-2 IIIB and AG-2-2 IV caused significant disease on 10-week-old plants. Because fungicides need to be applied prior to infection for effective disease control, temperature and moisture parameters were assessed to identify potential thresholds that limit infection. Root and leaf disease indices were used to evaluate disease progression of AG-2-2 IIIB- and AG-2-2 IV-inoculated plants in controlled climate conditions of 7 to 22 growing degree days (GDDs) per day. Root disease ratings were positively correlated with increasing temperature of both ISGs, with maximum disease symptoms occurring at 22 GDDs/day. No disease symptoms were evident from either ISG at 10 GDDs/day but disease symptoms did occur in plants grown in growth chambers set to 11 GDDs/day. Using growth chambers adjusted to 22 GDDs/day, disease was evaluated at 25, 50, 75, and 100% moisture-holding capacity (MHC). Disease symptoms for each ISG were highest in soils with 75 and 100% MHC but disease still occurred at 25% MHC. Isolates were tested for their ability to cause disease at 1, 4, and 8 cm from the plant hypocotyl. Only AG-2-2 IIIB was able to cause disease symptoms at 8 cm during the evaluation period. In all experiments, isolates of AG-2-2 IIIB were found to be more aggressive than AG-2-2 IV. Using environmental parameters that we identified as the most conducive to disease development, azoxystrobin, prothioconazole, pyraclostrobin, difenoconazole/propiconazole, flutolanil, polyoxin D, and a water control were evaluated for their ability to suppress disease development by AG-2-2 IIIB and AG-2-2 IV 17 days after planting. Flutolanil, polyoxin-D, and azoxystrobin provided the highest level of disease suppression. Because R. solani AG-2-2 IIIB and AG-2-2 IV are affected by temperature and moisture, growers may be able to evaluate environmental parameters for optimization of fungicide application.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2010