Canola (Brassica napus L) production has gained renewed interest in Washington State over the past few years, primarily for the purpose of producing biofuel. Plants were observed to be showing symptoms of Rhizoctonia root rot and postemergence damping-off. In many cases, this was due to Rhizoctonia solani AG-2-1, which was previously documented (4). However, additional plants were occasionally observed that were stunted and had reduced vigor, but lacked the distinctive severe stem damage and postemergence damping-off, which are both symptoms of infection with R. solani AG-2-1. Isolates of R. solani AG-10 were collected from symptomatic plants or baited from root zone soil at various dryland production locations in eastern Washington, including sites near Colfax, Pullman, and Walla Walla. Initial identification was determined by quantitative (Q)-PCR using R. solani AG-10 specific primers (3). The identity was verified by sequencing random isolates identified by Q-PCR (GenBank Accessions Nos. JQ068147, JQ068148 and JQ068149). All sequenced isolates had 99% identity to previously reported isolates of R. solani AG-10. Six isolates were chosen to test pathogenicity on canola plants in the greenhouse. Sterilized oats were inoculated with each of six isolates of R. solani AG-10 and grown for 4 weeks. The soil was infested with ground oat inoculum (1% wt/wt) and spring canola cv. Sunrise was seeded into 3.8 × 21-cm containers. After 3 weeks of incubation at 15°C, plants were harvested and assessed. Emergence was reduced in the infested soil with 73 to 93% (average 81%) emergence compared with 100% emergence in the noninfested soil. There was no evidence of postemergence damping-off. However, all six isolates of R. solani AG-10 significantly reduced the plant height and top dry weights compared with the noninfested controls. The plant height in infested soil was 28 to 42% (average 34%) shorter and top dry weights were 37 to 70% (average 54%) lower than in noninfested soil. Roots of infected plants had a light brown discoloration along with reduced length and fewer lateral roots. Additional host plants were tested, including wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), pea (Pisum sativum L.), chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), and lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.). There was no significant reduction in plant height or plant dry weight for any of these hosts. R. solani AG-10 was previously found to be weakly virulent on canola and other cruciferous hosts in Australia (1,2). To our knowledge, this is the first report of R. solani AG-10 causing disease on canola in Washington State.
Reference: (1) R. K. Khangura et al. Plant Dis. 83:714, 1999. (2) G. C. MacNish et al. Australas. Plant Pathol. 24:252, 1995. (3) P. A. Okubara et al. Phytopathology 98:837, 2008. (4) T. C. Paulitz et al. Plant Dis. 90:829, 2006.