Research Geneticist, USDA-ARS-U.S. Vegetable Laboratory, 2875 Savannah Hwy., Charleston, SC 29414
Associate Professor, Clemson University, Dept. of Plant Pathology and Physiology, Coastal Research and Education Center, 2865 Savannah Hwy., Charleston, SC 29414
Senior Extension Agent, Cooperative Extension Service, Lexington, SC 29072
The yellows disease of cole crops, caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. conglutinans, can be very damaging to collard. Growers in the southeastern United States frequently produce collard in hot, summer months when conditions for yellows development are favorable, and thus, incidence of this disease is increasing. A collection of essentially all U.S. commercial cultivars of collard, various landraces of collard, and other representative cole crops was evaluated for response to artificial inoculation with F. oxysporum f. sp. conglutinans under controlled-temperature conditions. In addition, the same collection was evaluated following transplanting for response to naturally infested soil in the field during summer 1997 and 1998. In all trials, genotype had the most significant effect on percentage of diseased plants, and genotype responses ranged from resistant (0 to 20% diseased) to susceptible (61 to 100% diseased). There was a significant temperature effect on percentage of diseased plants in one growth chamber experiment with five genotypes that resulted primarily from an increase in disease incidence for the cultivar Blue Max at 30°C compared with 25°C. Temperature was not significant in a second experiment with 20 genotypes. In the field, although significant differences were observed among genotypes and between years, a significant genotype × year interaction was not detected for percentage of diseased plants, indicating a similar ranking of genotypes for resistance between years. There was a significant correlation between results from controlled-environment studies and the field. A resistant response to F. oxysporum f. sp. conglutinans was expressed in certain cultivars of collard, including Flash, Heavicrop, and Morris Heading, and also in specific landraces. This resistance was stable in relatively high temperature environments used in evaluations. Results of this research indicate that choice of cultivar is a critical factor in producing collard where conditions favor infection by F. oxysporum f. sp. conglutinans. This information will aid in development of new yellows-resistant cultivars.