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Predicting cereal root disease in Western Australia using soil DNA and environmental parameters

Poole, G.J., Harries, M., Hüberli, D., Miyan, S., MacLeod, W.J., Lawes, R. and McKay, A. (2015) Predicting cereal root disease in Western Australia using soil DNA and environmental parameters. Phytopathology, 105 (8). pp. 1069-1079.

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Root diseases have long been prevalent in Australian grain-growing regions, and most management decisions to reduce the risk of yield loss need to be implemented before the crop is sown. The levels of pathogens that cause the major root diseases can be measured using DNA-based services such as PreDicta B. Although these pathogens are often studied individually, in the field they often occur as mixed populations and their combined effect on crop production is likely to vary across diverse cropping environments. A 3-year survey was conducted covering most cropping regions in Western Australia, utilizing PreDicta B to determine soilborne pathogen levels and visual assessments to score root health and incidence of individual crop root diseases caused by the major root pathogens, including Rhizoctonia solani (anastomosis group [AG]-8), Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici (take-all), Fusarium pseudograminearum, and Pratylenchus spp. (root-lesion nematodes) on wheat roots for 115, 50, and 94 fields during 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively. A predictive model was developed for root health utilizing autumn and summer rainfall and soil temperature parameters. The model showed that pathogen DNA explained 16, 5, and 2% of the variation in root health whereas environmental parameters explained 22, 11, and 1% of the variation in 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively. Results showed that R. solani AG-8 soil pathogen DNA, environmental soil temperature, and rainfall parameters explained most of the variation in the root health. This research shows that interactions between environment and pathogen levels before seeding can be utilized in predictive models to improve assessment of risk from root diseases to assist growers to plan more profitable cropping programs.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: The American Phytopathological Society
Copyright: © 2015 The American Phytopathological Society
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