Root rot, caused by Fusarium solani f.sp. phaseoli, is a serious disease of bean for which successful control has been elusive. Genetic resistance to the pathogen is considered quantitative and is strongly influenced by environmental factors. To reduce environmental variation and facilitate selection in earlier generations, an accurate, consistent, and nondestructive greenhouse screen was developed for the evaluation of Fusarium root rot resistance in bean. We describe a protocol that involves the germination of seedlings in perlite, inoculation of roots and hypocotyls 10 days after planting and evaluation within 4 weeks. The accuracy of this greenhouse screen was confirmed by demonstrating significant correlations between greenhouse and field ratings. Two experiments that included 24 and 21 diverse bean genotypes, respectively, were performed in the greenhouse and the ratings were correlated with field ratings over two growing seasons. Correlation coefficients between the greenhouse and field ratings were significant and as high as 0.99. Numerous genotypes can be evaluated within a short time for relatively minimal costs and labor. Furthermore, once roots have been rated and dipped in fungicide, plants can be transplanted for production of seed. This simple, rapid, and inexpensive protocol reduces environmental variation inherent to field ratings, thereby more accurately representing physiological resistance while maintaining a close association with observed field ratings.
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