Yu Pin Li,
Ming Pei You,
Timothy D. Colmer, and
Martin J. Barbetti, School of Plant Biology and The UWA Institute of Agriculture, Faculty of Science, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, 6009, Australia
Understanding combined abiotic (waterlogging) and biotic (Pythium spp.) stress resistance remains an important challenge to improving common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) productivity in disease-prone regions with irregular but intensive rainfall patterns. This study documented the effects of timing (1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 days after sowing) and duration (3, 6, 12, and 24 h) of soil saturation (waterlogging) on damping-off, as well as hypocotyl and root diseases of common bean caused by Pythium irregulare. There were significant effects of timing of waterlogging as well as the presence or absence of the pathogen on emergence of the three bean varieties tested; namely, ‘Gourmet Delight’, ‘Brown Beauty’, and ‘Pioneer’. The interaction between time of waterlogging and variety was significant for both root and hypocotyl disease severities. In the presence of P. irregulare, waterlogging 1 day after sowing resulted in the least emergence (55.2 ± 5.6%), although plants that survived after 5 weeks had less hypocotyl and root disease (percent hypocotyl disease index [%HDI] ± standard deviation [SD] = 42.0 ± 2.1% and percent root disease index [%RDI] ± SD = 42.4 ± 2.1%, respectively) than nonwaterlogged plants (%HDI = 50.8 ± 2.1% and %RDI = 48.0 ± 2.1%, respectively). The most severe disease assessed 5 weeks after sowing occurred when plants were subjected to waterlogging 9 days after sowing (%HDI = 61.3 ± 2.1% and %RDI = 56.0 ± 2.1%). In general, both hypocotyl and root disease severity increased as the duration of waterlogging increased from 1 to 24 h, with %HDI increasing from 53.9 ± 3.2% to 70.9 ± 3.2%, while %RDI increased from 57.2 ± 1.5% to 73.7 ± 1.5%. Varieties responded differentially in terms of disease development after waterlogging, with the least hypocotyl and root disease on Gourmet Delight (%HDI = 51.4 ± 3.2 and %RDI = 60.1 ± 1.5, respectively) and greatest on Pioneer (%HDI = 66.2 ± 3.2 and %RDI = 64.9 ± 1.5, respectively). Despite being susceptible to hypocotyl and root disease, Pioneer had the greatest emergence and shoot dry weight overall among the three varieties, suggesting that this variety has a degree of tolerance to waterlogging, P. irregulare infection, and the combination of these two stresses. Although the resistance of Gourmet Delight could be exploited to breed bean varieties that exhibit less hypocotyl and root disease when waterlogging occurs, the tolerance to both P. irregulare infection and waterlogging observed for Pioneer could also be exploited to breed varieties that incur less damage from hypocotyl or root disease or waterlogging. Furthermore, this study demonstrated what appears to be independent resistance to hypocotyl versus root infection by P. irregulare, which offers an opportunity to combine resistance to both stresses to reduce the impact of damping-off and root rot in conditions conducive for P. irregulare.