Predispositional Effect of Soil Water Saturation on Infection of Chile Pepper by Phytophthora capsici

in HortScience
Author:
S. SanogoDepartment of Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Weed Science, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003-0003

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Phytophthora capsici is a serious soilborne pathogen in chile pepper [Capsicum annuum L.] in New Mexico, and has been shown to spread under high soil moisture conditions and cause losses in a wide array of crops worldwide. This study was conducted to assess whether soil water saturation predisposes chile pepper to infection by P. capsici. Potted chile pepper plants of `Criollo de Morelos 334' (`CM334') and `New Mexico 6-4' (`NM6-4'), resistant and susceptible to P. capsici, respectively, were subjected to soil water saturation conditions (saturated and nonsaturated) for 3 and 6 days at two growth stages (six- to eight-leaf stage and one- to four-flower bud stage) prior to being inoculated or noninoculated with zoospores of P. capsici. Regardless of growth stage, no disease symptoms developed in `CM334' grown either under saturated or nonsaturated soil conditions at any of the two periods (3 or 6 days) of soil water saturation. In `NM6-4', disease symptoms consisting of stem necrosis, defoliation, and wilting were expressed. Plant growth stage at inoculation had a significant effect on disease severity (P < 0.0001). However, the response of `NM6-4' to P. capsici at each growth stage under saturated soil conditions was similar to that under nonsaturated conditions regardless of the period of saturation (P = 0.09). These results indicate that soil water saturation does not exert a significant predispositional effect on infection of chile pepper by P. capsici.

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