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T.J. Swiecki and J.D. MacDonald

Exposure of tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) to salinity stress either before or after inoculation with Phytophthora parasitica increased root and crown rot severity relative to nonstressed controls. The synergy between salinity and P. parasitic was most pronounced on young (prebloom) plants and least pronounced on older (postbloom) plants. Salt stressed, inoculated plants had significantly reduced top weight, significantly more root necrosis, greater incidence of crown necrosis, and significantly greater mortality. Increased disease severity occurred even though experiments showed salinity reduced zoospore release arid motility of P. parasitic, suggesting that even low inoculum levels can result in severe root rot on young tomato plants in saline soils.