Campus Units

Plant Pathology and Microbiology

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Published Version

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Plant Disease





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The roots of maize seedlings typically are attacked by a complex of organisms that includes fungal pathogens and plant-parasitic nematodes but few studies have examined the effects of these organisms in combination. Rhizoctonia solani can be an important component of the seedling disease complex; like other fungi, its effect on the plant may be influenced by the activity of nematodes such as the root-lesion nematode Pratylenchus penetrans. In this study, we assessed the impact of seed treatments, including fungicide–nematicide combinations, on maize seedlings exposed to R. solani and P. penetrans alone or in combination. In growth-chamber and greenhouse experiments, seed treated with various active ingredient combinations were planted in an autoclaved sand-soil mixture with or without inoculum of R. solani. In some treatments, a suspension of P. penetransadults and juveniles was added to the sand-soil mixture. In the greenhouse experiments, infection by R. solani caused dramatic reductions in root length, volume, surface area, and numbers of root tips and root forks, whereas P. penetrans infestation alone reduced only shoot fresh weight. Statistical interactions between the effects of the two organisms were not significant, although fungal infestation significantly reduced the numbers of nematodes extracted from roots. Seed treatments significantly improved most root development variables, and the combination that included four fungicides, thiamethoxam, and abamectin was the best treatment for most variables. Results were similar in the growth-chamber experiments, where R. solani caused significant reductions in nearly all shoot and root development measurements, and seed treatment with sedaxane, alone or combined with abamectin, consistently provided the best results. R. solani was more damaging to seedlings than P. penetrans, and the combination of the two organisms did not cause more damage than R. solani alone. Seed-treatment active ingredients that specifically targeted R. solani (sedaxane) and P. penetrans (abamectin) had large positive effects on seedling health, causing significant improvements in root and shoot growth and development compared with untreated seedlings exposed to these pathogens.


This article is published as da Silva, M. P., G. L. Tylka, and G. P. Munkvold. "Seed Treatment Effects on Maize Seedlings Coinfected with Rhizoctonia solani and Pratylenchus penetrans." Plant Disease 101, no. 6 (2017): 957-963. doi: 10.1094/PDIS-10-16-1417-RE. Posted with permission.

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The American Phytopathological Society



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