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Huey-Ling Lin, Jenjira Chumpookam, Ching-Chang Shiesh, and Wen-Hsin Chung

Papaya is one of the most important tropical fruit crops with annual production of ≈9.1 million tones and economic value of U.S. ≈$6097 million ( FAOSTAT, 2012 ). Damping-off is a major disease of papaya ( Carica papaya L.) seedling in nurseries

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J.O Becker and U.K. Schuch

A rapid screening system was developed to identify plant-beneficial rhizobacteria useful in protecting nursery seedlings against damping-off caused by Rhizoctonia solani. Ornamental and agricultural crops were planted into 100 soil samples that were collected from various fields throughout California. More than 7000 bacterial strains from the rhizosphere of these crops were isolated and tested in vitro for antibiosis against R. solani AG4. In a second tier, 600 active strains were tested in planting trays seeded with radish (Raphanus sativus `Cherry Belle'). Each planting cell filled with commercial potting mix contained millet-grown R. solani inoculum in the center and eight radish seeds at the periphery. Bacteria were cultured for 24 hr at 25°C in 10% tryptic soy broth and were applied as a drench at 1 × 107 cfu/cc to each cell. Trays were incubated in a growth chamber at 21°C and a 10-hr photoperiod. Post-emergence damping-off occurred within 8 to 9 days after planting, and no further losses were observed after 14 days. Approximately 0.5% of the original 7000 bacterial strains tested reduced damping-off significantly. Fifteen bacterial strains controlled Rhizoctonia damping-off by 30% to 60% compared to the non-treated control.

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Ramsey L. Sealy, C.M. Kenerley, and E.L. McWilliams

The effects of three light levels (1403, 806, and 462 μmol·s-1·m-2 on the severity of damping-off caused by Pythium myriotylum Drechsler in Amaranthus hybridus L. `Quelite' were tested. The observed mortality (33%, 69%, and 81%, respectively) decreased as light intensity increased. The reduction in plant growth and maturity in a shaded location is related to the observed increase in suspectibility to damping-off in such an environment.

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D.M. Benson

Control of preemergence damping-off caused by Phytophthora parasitica Dastur was investigated on three bedding plant species in a 1 peat: 1 vermiculite medium (v/v) limed at 3 kg·m–3 and drenched with aluminum at 10, 25, or 50 meq Al/100 cm3 medium. Aluminum as Al2(SO4)3 was applied as a drench at 0.75, 1.9, or 3.75 g/150 ml water to the surface of infested medium in 650-cm2 plug trays (1300-cm3 tray volume). All concentrations of aluminum were effective in controlling preemergence damping-off of snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L.) and vinca (Catharanthus roseus G. Don, Madagascar periwinkle), but only 50 meq Al+3/100 cm3 medium was effective for petunia (Petunia ×hybrida Hort. Vilm.-Andr.). At 4 days after seeding and drenching with aluminum sulfate, exchangeable aluminum was 0, 0.5, and 2.03 meq Al+3/100 g medium, respectively, for the three concentrations used. Control of damping-off of snapdragon and vinca with 10 meq Al+3/100 cm3 medium with no detectable exchangeable aluminum 4 days after application suggests that P. parasitica was suppressed by aluminum early in the host–pathogen interaction, whereas petunia was susceptible to damping-off for a longer period before seedling emergence. Aluminum was not phytotoxic to vinca, snapdragon, or petunia grown in a limed medium.

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Melvin R. Hall and Donald R. Summer

Primed, germinated, and untreated seeds of three watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai] cultivars were planted in March and April of 1990 and 1991 to evaluate damping-off incited by Pythium irregulare and Rhizoctonia solani AG-4. One week after seeding in 1990, plant stand was greater from primed and germinated than untreated Seeds in noninfested soil and greater from primed than germinated or untreated seeds in soil infested with P. irregulare. Neither germinated nor primed seeds improved plant establishment in soil infested with R. solani AG-4. Early plant stand was greater from the April than the March planting in each year. Plant establishment was more consistent from 'Crimson Sweet' than 'Jubilee' or 'Charleston Gray', but cultivar differences in response to P. irregulare or R. Solani AG-4 were not detected. Primed watermelon Seeds may enhance stand establishment in soil infested with P. irregulare when soil temperature at planting is suboptimal to optimal for watermelon seed germination and growth.

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Nancy W. Callan, James B. Miller, and Don E. Mathre

Shrunken-2 supersweet (sh2) sweet corn is susceptible to preemergence damping-off caused by Pythium ultimum, especially when planted into cold soil. Bio-priming, a seed treatment which combines the establishment of a bioprotectant on the seed with preplant seed hydration, was developed to protect seeds from damping-off.

In a series of field experiments conducted in Montana's Bitterroot and Gallatin Valleys, bio-priming or seed bacterization with Pseudomonas fluorescens AB254 protected sweet corn from P. ultimum damping-off. Bio-priming corn seed with P. fluorescens AB254 was comparable to treatment with the fungicide metalaxyl in increasing seedling emergence. Seedlings from bio-primed seeds emerged from the soil more rapidly than from nontreated seeds and were larger at three weeks postplanting. Seeds of sh 2 and sugary enhancer (se) sweet corn, as well as that of several sh 2 cultivars, were protected from damping-off by bio-priming.

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Nancy W. Callan, Don E. Mathre, and James B. Miller

Penicillium oxalicum is a seed- and soilborne fungal pathogen that causes preemergence damping-off and postemergence seedling blight of sweet corn, While seed infection and infestation by P. oxalicum is common, the amount of injury observed in the field is variable. Our objective was to determine factors influencing the occurrence and severity of disease due to P. oxalicum. Inoculation of sh-2 sweet corn seeds with conidia of P. oxalicum reduced seedling emergence and resulted in seedling mortality. Disease severity in the greenhouse and the field was greater as inoculum density increased from ≈ 102 to 106 conidia per seed. Increasing soil temperatures after planting inoculated seed resulted in more preemergence damping-off. Penicillium oxalicum is capable of growth and sporulation in soil that is too dry for seed germination. Nontreated (naturally infected) sh-2 sweet corn seeds or seeds inoculated with P. oxalicum were incubated in pasteurized soil that had been adjusted to various moisture levels-all too low for seed germination. Increasing soil moisture was associated with visible growth of Penicillium spp. on seed after incubation, and greater levels of damping-off and seedling blight when the seed was planted.

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S.Z. Islam, M. Babadoost, and Y. Honda

A study was conducted in the greenhouse to investigate the effects of red light (600-700 nm) on the subsequent occurrence of seedling infection of bell pepper, pumpkin, and tomato caused by Phytophthora capsici. Three- or 4-week-old seedlings were inoculated with zoospores or transplanted into pots filled with artificially infested soil mix. Red light treatment of seedlings reduced Phytophthora damping-off by up to 79%. Only 21% to 36% of red light-treated seedlings became infected, whereas 78% to 100% of the control seedlings, grown either in natural daylight (NDL) or under white light (WL), became infected and died. The height, and fresh and dry weight of seedlings treated with red light were significantly higher than those grown under NDL or WL.

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Michael R. Evans, Bernard W. Krumpelman, Ramsey Sealy, and Craig S. Rothrock

Vinca (Catharanthus roseus) is a common annual bedding plant species that is susceptible to root and stem rot caused by Phytophthora nicotianae. The experimental design was a 6×2×1 factorial with a total of 12 treatment combinations that had five replications and was repeated twice. Vinca seeds were planted in the middle nine plugs of a 5×5 five-milliliter round plug tray filled with sphagnum peat (control) or peat amended with 2.1 kg/m3 calcitic lime, 5.9 and 7.3 kg/m3 potassium silicate alone and combined with 3.0 kg/m3 calcium sulfate. A peat control drenched with metalaxyl after inoculation was also included. After germination, when the seedlings had one true leaf, half of the treatments were inoculated with 500 cfu of Phytophthora nicotianae per plug cell while the other half remained uninoculated. The percentage of germination for the potassium silicate combined with calcium sulfate (KSCS) (79% and 78%) was similar to the control (86%) and the metalaxyl treatment (83%), whereas the potassium silicate alone had poorer germination (69% and 71%) and plant growth. The percentage of mortality for the KSCS treatment (6% and 14%) was similar to the metalaxyl treatment (9%) but was significantly less than the control (100%). The average dry shoot and root weights for the KSCS treatments (4.4 and 4.9 mg; 2.7 and 2.2 mg) were similar to the metalaxyl treatment (5.0 and 3.6 mg) and the uninoculated control (5.0 and 3.2 mg), but were higher than the potassium silicate treatment alone (2.1 and 1.6 mg; 0.7 and 0.6 mg).

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V.L. Smith

Emergence of snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in field soil in 1995 to 1997 was reduced by the addition of dried, ground canola [Brassica napus L. ssp. oleifera (Metzg.) Sinsk. f. biennis] leaves and petioles to the furrow at planting. Soil amendment with the tissue increased the number of nodules on bean roots in all years. In plots with reduced stand, leaf area was increased and yield on a per-plant basis was larger than in plots with a better stand. Total yield was increased in plots with fewer plants only in 1995. Frequency of isolation of fungi that cause damping-off was not affected by the addition of canola at planting. When used as a seed treatment and incorporated at planting, canola residues were detrimental to emergence of snap bean.