Growth Characteristics and Root Calcium Absorption of Watermelon Seedlings as Influenced by the Fungicides Captan and Thiram

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Georgia Experiment Station, The University of Georgia, Griffin, GA 30223-1797

The influence of two fungicides—captan and thiram—on growth and 45Ca absorption by roots of `Starbrite' watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. and Nakai] seedlings was investigated. Unilateral application of Ca+2 and Al in agar induced curvature in roots from untreated and pretreated seeds. In untreated seeds, PCMBS inhibited Ca+2- and Al-induced root curvature by 82% and 92%, respectively. In commercially pretreated seeds (captan + thiram), PCMBS inhibited Ca+2- but not Al-induced root curvature. Captan or thiram also inhibited Ca+2- or Al-induced root curvature, and the effects of captan and thiram on root curvature were additive. Serial concentration (0, 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10, or 100 mg·liter-1) tests indicated that captan inhibited 45Ca absorption the most at 100 mg·liter-1, whereas thiram inhibited 45Ca absorption the most at 0.01 mg·liter-1. The effects of captan and thiram on 45Ca absorption were statistically additive. Thiram seemed to influence Ca+2 uptake by affecting exofacial sulfhydryl groups (a mode of action similar to that of PCMBS). DTT reversed the inhibitory effect of thiram on 45Ca absorption by 34% but did not reverse the effect of captan. A field test showed that acidic soil (pH 4.55) reduced leaf number; leaf, stem, shoot, and whole-plant dry weights; and stem length of 15-day-old seedlings. Although there was no difference in root dry weights or root: shoot ratios of plants from pretreated and untreated seeds planted in soil at pH 6.26, planting commercially pretreated seeds in acidic soil produced plants with greater root dry weights and root: shoot dry weight ratios than those from untreated seeds. Seedlings showed a greater response to seed treatment in early growth stages. Captan and thiram may have influenced growth characteristics by inhibiting Al uptake of seedlings planted in acidic soil. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the influence of the fungicides captan and thiram on mineral ion uptake in roots. Chemical names used: p-Chloromercuribenzenesulfonic acid (PCMBS), dithiothreitol (DTT), N-trichloromethylthio-4-cyclohexene-1,2-dicarboximide (captan), tetramethylthiuram disulfide (thiram).

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