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Progress towards the Sustainable Management of Clubroot [Plasmodiophora brassicae] of Canola on the Canadian Prairies.

Strelkov, S.E., Hwang, S.F., Howard, R.J., Hartman, M., and Turkington, T.K. (2011). "Progress towards the Sustainable Management of Clubroot [Plasmodiophora brassicae] of Canola on the Canadian Prairies.", Prairie Soils and Crops, 4, pp. 114-121.

Abstract

Clubroot, caused by the obligate parasite Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin, has recently emerged as an important disease of canola (Brassica napus) in central Alberta. Disease development is characterized by the formation of large galls on the roots of affected plants, which hinder water and nutrient uptake and lead to yield and quality losses. Over 560 clubroot infested fields have now been confirmed in the province, and while most cases of the disease are still found in central Alberta, clubroot appears to be spreading into southern counties. The primary mechanism for pathogen dispersal seems to be the movement of infested soil on field equipment, although secondary mechanisms, such as soil and wind erosion and infested seed, have also been suggested. Until recently, the main strategy for managing clubroot on canola was rotation out of susceptible crops for four or more years, although research is underway to evaluate the efficacy of numerous other control methods common in cruciferous vegetable production, including the application of soil amendments and fungicides, and the sanitation of vehicles, machinery and equipment. The potential for biological control is also being assessed. Six canola hybrids with genetic resistance to the predominant pathotypes of P. brassicae were recently released onto the Canadian market by several companies, collectively representing one of the most important new management tools available to growers. Genetic resistance will have to be carefully managed however, since regional populations of P. brassicae are fairly diverse and pathogen virulence patterns are known to shift quickly in response to selection pressure. As such, successful long-term management of clubroot on the prairies will require an integrated approach and widespread adoption of effective management strategies by canola growers and other stakeholders.

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