J. M. Foster, former Graduate Research Assistant,
R. P. Naegele, Graduate Research Assistant, and
M. K. Hausbeck, Professor, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824
Phytophthora capsici is a soilborne pathogen of major economic importance in pepper, and of less importance in tomato and eggplant production. As soil fumigation becomes more expensive and limited, and fungicide insensitivity of P. capsici isolates becomes more prevalent, grafting is quickly becoming an industry-favored method to control soilborne diseases. Greenhouse experiments were performed to evaluate an eggplant cultivar (Classic), two eggplant lines (EG195, EG203), a pepper line (CM334), and three pepper cultivars (Paladin, Camelot, and Red Knight) for root rot resistance to 14 P. capsici isolates. The isolates showed various degrees of virulence between pepper and eggplant in both experiments. Both eggplant and one pepper lines showed moderate resistance to the most virulent isolates tested in experiment one. The partially resistant pepper cultivar, Paladin, was significantly more susceptible than CM334 and the eggplant lines, but was still resistant to most isolates. In the second experiment, the eggplant cultivar Classic and the susceptible pepper cultivar Red Knight were both susceptible to most isolates tested, while EG203 and EG195 were resistant to most isolates. The two eggplant breeding lines, EG195 and EG203, showed moderate resistance to all isolates tested in both experiments. This is the first reported evaluation of eggplant resistance to P. capsici. Further research is warranted to test eggplant lines EG195 and EG203 for resistance to a wide range of soilborne pests and to evaluate their usefulness as P. capsici–resistant rootstocks for peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants.