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Eight Species of Fusarium Cause Root Rot of Corn (Zea mays) in South Dakota

P. N. Okello, K. Petrović, B. Kontz, and F. M. Mathew

March 2019

Research

Fusarium root rot of corn (Zea mays L.) is yield-limiting in the United States, but there is no information available on the disease in South Dakota. In 2015, corn seedlings with discolored roots were arbitrarily sampled from 50 South Dakota fields, and 198 isolates were recovered. Eight species (F. acuminatum, F. boothii, F. equiseti-incarnatum complex, F. graminearum, F. oxysporum, F. proliferatum, F. solani, and F. subglutinans) were identified by morphology and translation elongation factor 1-α gene sequencing. F. graminearum (26.8%) was the most common fungus, and F. boothii (0.5%) was the least recovered. Fourteen isolates, representing the eight species, were evaluated for their pathogenicity on 2-week-old seedlings of inbred ‘B73’ using the inoculum layer method in the greenhouse. Fourteen days postinoculation, root rot severity was evaluated on a 1-to-5 rating scale and expressed as relative treatment effects (RTEs). F. proliferatum isolate P2 caused significantly greater RTE (based on 95% confidence intervals) on seedlings than the other isolates and the noninoculated control, except F. graminearum isolate FG23. This study indicates that the eight species of Fusarium are aggressive root rot pathogens of corn in South Dakota, and this information will help evaluate strategies for producers to manage these pathogens in their fields.

doi:10.1094/PHP-11-18-0075-RS

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