Development, Detection, and Elimination of Verticillium dahliae in Mint Shoot Cultures

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331
  • | 2 USDA-ARS, National Clonal Germplasm Repository, 33447 Peoria Road, Corvallis, OR 97333-2521

Roots of greenhouse-grown mint plants and in-vitro-grown shoot cultures were inoculated with Verticillium dahliae Kleb. conidial suspensions to study wilt symptom development and detection and elimination of the fungus. There were significant differences in the symptom expression between control and infected shoot cultures at all conidia concentrations for the four mints tested. Disease-symptom ratings were proportional to the V. dahliae inoculum density. Infected shoot cultures were stunted when inoculated with ≥ 103 conidia/mL. Verticillium dahliae was re-isolated from infected shoot cultures at all levels of inoculum, but not from any control cultures. Verticillium infections were easily detected by plating mint stems on potato dextrose agar. Shoot tips (0.5 to 15 mm) from infected in-vitro- and greenhouse-grown plants were isolated and screened for fungus. The most effective shoot length for fungus elimination was 3-5 mm. Shoot tips isolated from in vitro spearmint cultivars infected at 102 and 103 conidia/mL were 100% Verticillium free, but only 42% of `Black Mitcham' and 54% of `Todd's Mitcham' peppermints were free of the disease. Shoot tips from infected greenhouse plants produced Verticillium-free cultures from 79% of `Black Mitcham' and 90% of `Todd's Mitcham' plants. These results indicate the utility of testing for Verticillium and the safety of micropropagated mint shoots for certified planting stock programs.

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