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Blair Buckley III and Christopher A. Clark

Bacterial blight, incited by Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. vignicola, is a major disease of cowpea. Strong resistance has not been reported in commercial cultivars. Many cultivars released within the last ten years have not been previously screened. Thirty-eight cowpea cultivars, 60 breeding lines, and 25 PIs were screened for reaction to bacterial blight in tests conducted in a greenhouse. Inoculum was adjusted turbidimetrically (OD620nm = 0.1) to approximately 108 cfu/ml. Seedling plants were inoculated by either leaf infiltration or stem puncture methods. Ratings were on a 1-6 scale in which 1 = no symptoms, 2 = localized lesions at site of inoculation, 3 = lesions spreading slightly near site of inoculation, 4 = any symptoms on systemically infected leaves or stems, 5 = extensive wilting and/or stem collapse, 6 = dead plant. All cultivars were susceptible to the pathogen. Cream-type cultivars Bettergreen, Tender Cream, Zipper Cream, Carolina Cream, and Mississippi Cream were among the most susceptible. Breeding lines MN13, MN150, TX57069-11, TX 58048-2000, and TX 59069-11 produced hypersensitive reactions in response to leaf infiltration inoculation. However, the three TX lines were rated susceptible when inoculated by stem puncture. Eighteen PIs (including PI293467, PI293521, PI293525, PI293567, and PI293571) were highly resistant to bacterial blight.

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Frank A. Buffone, Don R. La Bonte, and Christopher A. Clark

DNA isolated from Fusarium lateritium Nees: Fr.-infected `Jewel' sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] plants was compared to F. lateritium-free `Jewel' plants for differences in random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) marker products. Differences in RAPD marker products were detected. Amplified DNA isolations from F. lateritium-infected `Jewel' plants generated additional, unique DNA fragments not found in amplified DNA isolations of F. lateritium-free `Jewel' plants. These unique amplified DNA fragments were consistent with those obtained from amplified DNA isolations of the F. lateritium isolate, 91-27-2, used for inoculation. We found that F. lateritium DNA successfully competes with sweetpotato DNA in the polymerase chain reaction for priming sites in a 3: 1 ratio of sweetpotato DNA to F. lateritium DNA. Our results indicate the importance of avoiding plant material infested with pathogens to avoid spurious marker bands.

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Ramón A. Arancibia, Jeffrey L. Main, and Christopher A. Clark

Tip rot, or restricted end rot, is a new sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) disease/disorder in Mississippi with unknown etiology. Since pathogen isolations have been inconsistent, a relationship of this disorder with stress is proposed. This disease/disorder is manifested as a restricted lesion at or close to the proximal end of the storage root and appears after 2 to 4 weeks in storage. In many cases, the lesion necrosis expands internally. On-farm and research station studies with preharvest foliar applications of ethephon were conducted in Mississippi to determine the potential association of tip rot with ethephon-induced stress. In addition, the effects of ethephon rate and interval between application and harvest on tip rot were investigated. After 1 to 2 months in storage, tip rot incidence was observed mostly in storage roots from ethephon-treated plants. The increase in tip rot incidence was well correlated with ethephon rate. These results suggest that preharvest applications of ethephon trigger a response that results in the tip rot disorder.

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Heather L. Wallace, Don R. La Bonte, and Christopher A. Clark

Virus infections and genetic mutations have been implicated in the decline of sweetpotato yield and quality. Virus-tested mericlones were derived from 12 infected clones of `Beauregard' sweetpotato by meristem-tip culture. Field studies were conducted to evaluate yield differences between the virus-tested and the virus-infected plants of each respective clone. After a 90-day growing period, the storage roots were harvested, weighed, and analyzed with a colorimeter to gauge color of skin and flesh. Yield was 7% to 130% greater in virus-tested mericlones compared to their respective virus-infected clone. Data also show these 12 virus-tested mericlones vary in yield by up to 118%. This suggests genetic differences between clones greatly affect yield. The virus-tested mericlones also show a more desirable darker-red hue for skin and flesh than the virus-infected clones. The incorporation of virus-tested material into foundation seed programs could potentially increase yield and quality with little added expense to growers, thereby netting a higher return on their crop.

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Mary Helen Ferguson, Christopher A. Clark, and Barbara J. Smith

Xylella fastidiosa Wells et al. causes disease in a number of plants in the southeastern United States, including southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum interspecific hybrids), but little was known concerning its potential impact in rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium virgatum Aiton syn. Vaccinium ashei Reade). In a naturally infected orchard in Louisiana, mean yields of X. fastidiosa–positive plants were 55% and 62% less than those of X. fastidiosa–negative plants in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Average berry weight was also lower in X. fastidiosa–positive plants. Within 3 years of testing positive for X. fastidiosa, four of nine X. fastidiosa–positive plants appeared dead. However, plants that were X. fastidiosa–negative in 2013 remained so until 2015, indicating that the bacterium did not spread rapidly in this established orchard during this time. Other factors, including soil chemistry variables, Phytophthora cinnamomi, ring nematode, and ringspot symptoms, were also investigated to determine if one of these might predispose plants to infection with X. fastidiosa or be partly responsible for observed yield loss. In most cases, interactions were not found, but associations with soil Cu and Zn suggest a need for further research on whether these elements predispose rabbiteye blueberry to X. fastidiosa infection and thereby contribute to yield losses. Researchers, extension workers, and growers should be aware of X. fastidiosa as a potential yield- and survival-impacting factor in rabbiteye blueberry.

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Howard F. Harrison Jr., Joseph K. Peterson, Christopher A. Clark, and Maurice E. Snook

Sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] periderm components were tested for their effect on four fungi that infect sweetpotato roots: Fusarium oxysporum Schlecht. f. sp. batatas (Wollenw.) Snyd. & Hans. and F. solani (Sacc.) Mart., both of which cause stem and root disease; and Lasiodiplodea theobromae (Pat.) Griffon & Maubl. and Rhizopus stolonifer (Ehr. ex Fr.) Lind., both of which cause storage root disease. Sequential extracts of `Regal' sweetpotato periderm with hexane, methanol, and 50% methanol were inhibitory to the four fungi when incorporated into potato dextrose agar medium in petri dish bioassays. The methanol and 50% methanol extracts were much more active than the hexane extract and were combined for further study. Sephadex LH-20 column chromatography of the combined extracts, followed by bioassay with F. oxysporum indicated that the most inhibitory fraction contained the least polar components of the extract. Resin glycosides isolated from `Regal' periderm inhibited F. oxysporum, but the glycosides exhibited little concentration effect and were not as active on a tissue weight basis as other components. Periderm extracts from 10 sweetpotato clones exhibited large differences in inhibitory activity in bioassays with the four fungi. The sensitivity of the fungi to inhibition by the periderm extracts suggests that periderm components may provide protection against soil pathogens, but a relationship between such components and disease resistance was not established.

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Bong-kyoo Kim, Don R. La Bonte, Christopher A. Clark, and Mario I. Buteler

Narrow-sense heritabilities for reaction to chlorotic leaf distortion (CLD), incited by Fusarium lateritium Nees: Fr., were estimated in sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] by variance component analysis and parent–offspring regression. Visually rated severity reactions to CLD varied greatly among the 20 parents used to generate half-sib progeny from open-pollinated nurseries in 1990 and 1991. Progeny from each nursery were evaluated along with parents in a completely randomized design in two consecutive years. Narrow-sense heritability (h 2) estimates based on variance components were moderate on an entry mean basis at 0.61 in 1990, 0.38 in 1991, and 0.33 for the two years combined. Slightly higher, but still moderate, estimates were obtained on an individual plant basis. Narrow-sense heritability estimates using parent–offspring regression were 0.35 in 1990, 0.33 in 1991, and 0.33 for the two years combined. Predicted next-generation response was highest using a half-sib family recurrent selection among three schemes compared at a 10% selection intensity. Our data indicate –0.63 improvement in the half-sib family CLD severity rating in one breeding cycle.

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Don R. La Bonte, Arthur Q. Villordon, Christopher A. Clark, Paul W. Wilson, and C. Scott Stoddard

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Don R. La Bonte, Christopher A. Clark, Tara P. Smith, Arthur Q. Villordon, and C. Scott Stoddard

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Don R. La Bonte, Christopher A. Clark, Tara P. Smith, Arthur Q. Villordon, and C. Scott Stoddard