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Agroecological Factors Correlated to Soil DNA Concentrations of Rhizoctonia in Dryland Wheat Production Zones of Washington State, USA

July 2014 , Volume 104 , Number  7
Pages  683 - 691

Patricia A. Okubara, Kurtis L. Schroeder, John T. Abatzoglou, and Timothy C. Paulitz

First and fourth authors: United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service Root Disease Unit and Biological Control Research Unit, P.O. Box 6430, Pullman, WA 99164-6430; second author: Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-6430; and third author: Department of Geography, University of Idaho, Moscow 83844-3021.

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Accepted for publication 22 January 2014.

The necrotrophic soilborne fungal pathogens Rhizoctonia solani AG8 and R. oryzae are principal causal agents of Rhizoctonia root rot and bare patch of wheat in dryland cropping systems of the Pacific Northwest. A 3-year survey of 33 parcels at 11 growers' sites and 60 trial plots at 12 Washington State University cereal variety test locations was undertaken to understand the distribution of these pathogens. Pathogen DNA concentrations in soils, quantified using real-time polymerase chain reaction, were correlated with precipitation, temperature maxima and minima, and soil texture factors in a pathogen-specific manner. Specifically, R. solani AG8 DNA concentration was negatively correlated with precipitation and not correlated with temperature minima, whereas R. oryzae concentration was correlated with temperature minima but not with precipitation. However, both pathogens were more abundant in soils with higher sand and lower clay content. Principal component analysis also indicated that unique groups of meteorological and soil factors were associated with each pathogen. Furthermore, tillage did not affect R. oryzae but affected R. solani AG8 at P = 0.06. Lower soil concentrations of R. solani AG8 but not R. oryzae occurred when the previously planted crop was a broadleaf (P < 0.05). Our findings showed that R. solani AG8 concentrations were consistent with the general distribution of bare patch symptoms, based on field observations and surveys of other pathogens, but was present at many sites in which bare patch symptoms were not evident. Management of Rhizoctonia root rot and bare patch should account for the likelihood that each pathogen is affected by a unique group of agroecological variables.

Additional keywords: agroclimate zone, direct seed.

This article is in the public domain and not copyrightable. It may be freely reprinted with customary crediting of the source. The American Phytopathological Society, 2014.