Effects of different soil treatments on the development of Spongospora subterranea f. sp. subterranea in potato roots and tubers in the greenhouse

27 Jun 2017

Powdery scab caused by Spongospora subterranea f. sp. subterranea (Sss) causes extensive losses in potato production systems globally. Two pot experiments were established in the greenhouse in summer 2013 and winter 2014 to evaluate the effectiveness of different soil chemicals, fumigant, amendments and biological control agents (BCAs) against Sss in the rhizospheric soil, potato roots and tubers. The study used visual assessment methods to assess the effect of treatments on root galling and zoosporangia production, and qPCR to measure Sss concentration in the soil and in the potato roots and tubers. All six soil treatments, namely metam sodium, fluazinam, ZincMax, calcium cyanamide, Biocult and a combination of Bacillus subtilis and Trichoderma asperellum recorded significantly (P < 0.05) lower numbers of zoosporangia in the roots compared to the untreated control. The same effect was observed on the concentration of Sss DNA in the roots at tuber initiation. A more diverse picture was obtained when root gall scores at tuber initiation and Sss DNA in the rhizospheric soil at tuber initiation and harvesting were compared. Significant differences (P < 0.05) were also noted in disease severity, disease incidence, and tuber yield between metam sodium, fluazinam, ZincMax, calcium cyanamide and the untreated control. Calcium cyanamide gave the highest tuber yield. The study demonstrated the potential of soil treatments such as metam sodium, fluazinam, ZincMax and calcium cyanamide in managing Sss in potatoes by reducing the pathogen both in the rhizospheric soil and the roots of the potato plant.