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Aphanomyces euteiches Inoculum Potential: A Rolled-Towel Bioassay Suitable for Fine-Textured Soils

April 1998 , Volume 82 , Number  4
Pages  386 - 390

J. L. Williams-Woodward , Graduate Research Assistant , and F. L. Pfleger , Professor, Department of Plant Pathology , R. R. Allmaras , Soil Scientist, USDA-ARS and Department of Soil, Water and Climate , and V. A. Fritz , Associate Professor, Southern Minnesota Experiment Station and Department of Horticulture, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108

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Accepted for publication 30 December 1997.

A sensitive measure of soil inoculum potential is needed to evaluate field management of common root rot (Aphanomyces euteiches) in peas (Pisum sativum). A modified rolled-towel (RT) bioassay had been proposed to measure soil inoculum potential in fine-textured soils used for pea production in Minnesota. Homogenized soil was used because organic debris containing the inoculum could not be separated by wet sieving. The poor precision prompted an evaluation of procedures to improve this modified RT bioassay. Seed treatment with a 5% solution of sodium hypochlorite before pea seed germination and plant isolation procedures during the RT bioassay preparation/incubation reduced seedborne contamination and seedling loss to less than 5%. Tests conducted with pasteurized soil that was artificially infested with oospores showed the region of the pea taproot 1 to 2 cm below the seed to be more susceptible to infection (33% compared with 15% infected seedlings) than the region 1 to 2 cm above the root tip. A soil volume of 1.0 cm3 increased inoculum potential compared with 0.5 cm3 applied to each seedling but did not influence the random error; the 40-seedling compared with the 20-seedling RT bioassay reduced random error from 18 to 12%. The modified RT bioassay conducted on soil that was artificially infested after steam treatment or without steam treatment showed superior performance when using 40 seedlings compared with 20 seedlings when evaluated for accuracy and precision. Multiple infection theory demonstrated more multiple infections in the RT bioassay with a 0.5 cm3 soil volume applied to each seedling, which shows that soil mass is a factor preventing a higher percentage of infected seedlings. These modifications to the RT bioassay improved the method enough to reduce the random error by one-half compared with using homogenized soil without the proposed modifications.

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society