Influence of cultivar resistance and inoculum density on root hair infection of canola (Brassica napus) by Plasmodiophora brassicae




The impact of cultivar resistance and inoculum density on the incidence of primary infection of canola root hairs by Plasmodiophora brassicae, the causal agent of clubroot, was assessed by microscopy. The incidence of root hair infection in both a resistant and a susceptible cultivar increased with increasing inoculum density, but was two- to threefold higher in the susceptible cultivar; the relationship between root hair infection and inoculum density was also substantially stronger and more consistent in the susceptible cultivar. In the susceptible cultivar, the root hair infection rate peaked between 6 and 8 days after sowing and then declined. In the resistant cultivar, it increased over the 14-day duration of each study. It appears that examination of root hair infection by microscopy in a bait crop of susceptible canola could serve as a useful tool for estimating P. brassicae inoculum levels in soil. In a separate trial, the relationship between inoculum density and clubroot severity, plant growth parameters, and seed yield was assessed under greenhouse conditions. Inoculum density in the susceptible genotype was strongly and positively correlated with clubroot severity and negatively correlated with plant height and seed yield. In addition, a single cropping cycle of the susceptible cultivar contributed significantly higher levels of resting spores to the soil in a greenhouse test than did a cycle of the resistant cultivar, as assessed by quantitative PCR and microscope analysis.