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Evaluation of Adapted Wheat Cultivars for Tolerance to Pythium Root Rot

September 2004 , Volume 88 , Number  9
Pages  1,027 - 1,032

R. W. Higginbotham , Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-6420 ; T. C. Paulitz , USDA-ARS, Root Disease and Biological Control Unit, Pullman, WA 99164-6430 ; K. G. Campbell , USDA-ARS, Wheat Genetics, Quality, Physiology and Disease Research Unit, Pullman, WA 99164-6430 ; and K. K. Kidwell , Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-6420

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Accepted for publication 13 May 2004.

Genetic resistance in wheat (Triticum aestivum) against Pythium species would be an efficient means of control of this major root fungal pathogen, but so far no source has been identified. In addition, no long-term, sustainable options for controlling Pythium root rot are available; therefore, identifying and then incorporating genetic resistance into wheat cultivars would create an ideal method of control for this disease. The objective of this study was to examine the level of tolerance to Pythium root rot among a diverse set of wheat germ plasm collected from all major wheat production regions in the United States. Pythium debaryanum isolate 90136 and P. ultimum isolate 90038, previously identified as the most virulent Pythium isolates on wheat, were used to infest pasteurized soil, which was seeded with wheat genotypes and placed in a growth chamber maintained at a constant 16°C with a 12-h photoperiod and ambient humidity. Length of the first leaf and plant height measurements were recorded, and roots were digitally scanned to create computer files that were analyzed using WinRhizo software for length and number of tips. Significant (P < 0.05) differences in plant variables were detected among wheat genotypes in the presence of both Pythium species, and a significant (P < 0.0001) correlation between plant stunting and root loss was detected. Based on both shoot and root measurements, Caledonia, Chinese Spring, MN97695, and OR942504 appear to be highly susceptible to Pythium root rot, whereas genotypes KS93U161, OH708, and Sunco were the most tolerant to this disease.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2004