Rhizoctonia root rot occurs commonly on canola (Brassica napus L.) in Washington State. Recently, isolates of an additional pathogen were found to be involved in this disease complex. Isolates of an AG-I-like Ceratobasidium sp. were collected from roots and root zone soil in central Washington near Ritzville. Identity of selected isolates was verified by sequencing the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the rDNA (GenBank Accession Nos. JQ247570, JQ247571, and JQ247572), with a 90 to 93% identity to AG-I. All isolates also amplified with AG-I-like specific primers (1). Six isolates were included in pathogenicity assays conducted in the greenhouse. There were five replicates of three plants for each treatment and the experiment was conducted twice. Pasteurized soil was infested with ground oat inoculum (1%) and placed into containers (3.8 × 21 cm). Infested soils were seeded with canola, chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.), pea (Pisum sativum L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), or wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). After 3 weeks of incubation at 15°C, the plants were destructively harvested. The emergence of canola was consistently reduced in soil infested with a Ceratobasidium sp., with reductions of 0 to 23% (average 11%). There was no postemergence damping-off, a symptom commonly associated with AG-2-1 (2). Plant height and top dry weights were significantly reduced for canola seeded into infested soil. Heights of plants growing in infested soil was reduced by 25 to 53% (average 42%) and top dry weight was reduced by 37 to 81% (average 61%) compared with the noninfested control. The legume hosts tested in this study were also affected by this Ceratobasidium sp., but to a lesser extent. Compared with the noninfested controls, there was evidence of preemergence damping-off in chickpea (0 to 27%, average 13%) and pea plants were consistently stunted (5 to 23%, average 12%). Chickpea and pea plants grown in infested soil also had reduced top dry weights of 9 to 28% (average 17%) and 13 to 35% (average 21%), respectively. The roots of all infected hosts had a characteristic brown discoloration with tapered, rotted root tips (spear tips). There was no reduction in emergence or plant height of wheat and barley; there was inconsistent reduction in dry weight of these plants. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a Ceratobasidium sp. causing disease on canola in Washington State.
References: (1) P. A. Okubara et al. Phytopathology 98:837, 2008. (2) T. C. Paulitz et al. Plant Dis. 90:829, 2006.