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young corn plant with yellow, wilted leaves SDSU
ROOT ROT: Yellow, wilted leaves are one of the signs of root rot in corn. (

SDSU research identifies 8 corn root rot pathogens

For the first time, the pathogens that cause root rot in corn in South Dakota have been identified.

For the first time, South Dakota researchers have identified the pathogens causing root rot of corn in the state.

Paul Okello — a South Dakota State University research associate in the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science — identified eight fusarium species that cause root rot in South Dakota. Seven of the fusarium species isolated from corn also cause disease in soybeans.

The research will help plant breeders develop resistant varieties and will help chemical companies test the efficacy of seed treatments that target these specific pathogens, says Febina Mathew, SDSU field crops pathologist. She is Okello’s research adviser

The May 2019 issue of “Plant Health Progress,” a journal published by the American Phytopathological Society, featured two articles on the research. The article received the Editor’s Pick Award. Okello was first author on both papers.

The research was supported by USDA funding through the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. The soybean work was funded by the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and the North Central Soybean Research Program.

Yield losses

Corn rot root yield losses have been small, but there is the potential for an outbreak. There are always fusarium spores in the soil. They flourish when the soil is wet for long periods.

“We found that seven species of the South Dakota isolates from either soybean or corn cause disease in both crops,” Okello says. “This means if you are going to plant soybeans after corn or vice-versa, you are increasing the inoculum level of these soil pathogens, amplifying what’s already there.”

SDSUSDSU research associate Paul Okello in lab coat

RESEARCH RESULTS: Paul Okello, SDSU research associate, identified new fusarium species that cause corn root rot.

SDSU is now testing fungicide seed treatment to determine if the current chemistries can help manage fusarium root rot.

The use of partially resistant hybrids can also decrease losses, Mathew points out. “However, at this time, we are not sure if the genes conferring resistance to fusarium root rot are also responsible for resistance to fusarium ear rot and/or stalk rot. This warrants further study.”

Source: SDSU, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
TAGS: Corn fusarium
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