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Seedborne Infection of Pyrethrum by Phoma ligulicola

Pethybridge, S.J., Hay, F., Jones, S., Wilson, C., Groom, T.
Plant disease 2006 v.90 no.7 pp. 891-897
Tanacetum cinerariifolium, insecticidal properties, Phoma, plant pathogenic fungi, fungal diseases of plants, seed-borne diseases, seed-borne fungi, disease incidence, disease control, Stemphylium, seed treatment, sodium hypochlorite, decontamination, polymerase chain reaction, disease detection, fungicides, thiabendazole, thiram, seed germination, seedlings, mortality, Tasmania
The incidence of Phoma ligulicola in Tasmanian pyrethrum seed and methods of managing seedborne mycoflora were determined. Fourteen different fungi were regularly isolated from seed, including Alternaria tenuissima, Stemphylium botryosum, and P. ligulicola, which have been documented as pathogens of pyrethrum. Comparisons between the incidence of these fungi from seed surface-sterilized with sodium hypochlorite and nontreated seed indicated they occurred both within and on the outside of the seed. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the detection of P. ligulicola was also developed, with a detection limit of 800 fg of fungal DNA. The assay detected infested seed lots down to an incidence of 0.5%. Reliable amplification of the target DNA was achieved with the addition of bovine serum albumin to reduce the influence of inhibitors from pyrethrum seed. Agar plate tests and PCR demonstrated variability with pyrethrum cultivars in the presence and viability of P. ligulicola in seed. Effective management strategies for the reduction of seedborne P. ligulicola included the regular use of fungicides for reducing foliar disease intensity in the seed fields prior to harvest. Seed treatments with fludioxonil and thiabendazole/thiram also significantly reduced the incidence of seedborne P. ligulicola and increased seed germination and seedling survival.