Cross-pathogenicity of Rhizoctonia solani strains on pasture legumes in pasture-crop rotations

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    In Australia, in the past, pasture legumes were rotated mainly with cereals, but increasingly these rotations now involve pasture legumes with a wider range of crops, including legumes. This increasing frequency of the leguminous host in the rotation system may be associated with increased root rots in legumes in the current pasture-crop rotations. The primary aim of this study was to see whether the pathogenicity on pasture legumes of strains of Rhizoctonia solani sourced from lupins and cereals (common crops in rotation with pastures) is associated with increased incidence of root rots in pasture legumes in the disease conducive sandy soils of the Mediterranean regions of southern Australia. The second aim was to determine sources of resistance among newly introduced pasture legumes to R. solani strains originating from rotational crops as this would reduce the impact of disease in the pasture phase. Fifteen pasture legume genotypes were assessed for their resistance/susceptibility to five different zymogram groups (ZG) of the root rot pathogen R. solani under glasshouse conditions. Of the R. solani groups tested, ZG1-5 and ZG1-4 (both known to be pathogenic on cereals and legumes) overall, caused the most severe root disease across the genotypes tested, significantly more than ZG6 (known to be pathogenic on legumes), in turn significantly >ZG4 (known to be pathogenic on legumes) which in turn was >ZG11 (known to be pathogenic on legumes including tropical species). Overall, Ornithopus sativus Brot. cvs Cadiz and Margurita, Trifolium michelianum Savi. cvs Paradana and Frontier and T. purpureum Loisel. cv. Electro showed a significant level of resistance to root rot caused by R. solani ZG11 (root disease scores = 2.0) or ZG1-5 (scores >= 2.5). This study demonstrates the relative potential of the various R. solani ZG strains, and particularly ZG1-4, ZG1-5, ZG4 and ZG6 to attack legume pastures and pose a significant threat to non-pasture crop species susceptible to these strains grown in rotation with these pasture legumes. Significantly, the cross-pathogenicity of these strains could result in the continuous build-up of inoculum of these strains that may seriously affect the productivity eventually of legumes in all rotations. In particular, when choosing pasture legumes as rotation crops, caution needs to be exercised so that the cultivars deployed are those with the best resistance to the R. solani ZGs most likely to be prevalent at the location.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)203-211
    JournalPlant and Soil
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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