Seed World

New Guide Helps Combat Damping-Off and Root and Stem Rot of Cucurbits

The plant parasite species Pythium lurks in virtually every agricultural field and commonly causes damping-off, which weakens or kills seeds or seedlings, and root and stem rot, which can kill plants. Depending on the year and season, symptoms may or may not appear, making it even more crucial that growers learn how to recognize and address the pathogen when it becomes an issue.

Clemson University plant pathologist Sean Toporek recently published a diagnostic guide for pythium damping-off and root and stem rot of cucurbits, which he compiled after working with Pythium during his master’s program. “This is really the first synthesis of practical literature about working with Pythium on cucurbits,” he said.

The diagnostic guide introduces readers to the diversity of Pythium species responsible for causing disease in cultivated cucurbits and highlights some of the variable ways researchers have worked with Pythium in this host.

“What is most exciting about this diagnostic guide is that it is a concise guide that can be used as a jumping off point for anyone beginning to work on Pythium in cucurbits, which is not a widely published on system,” said Toporek. “This guide will be useful for diagnosticians, cucurbit growers, and plant pathologists working with cucurbits.”

The goal of this diagnostic guide is to describe symptoms and to summarize and provide insight on techniques for isolation, storage, morphological and genetic identification, and conducting pathogenicity tests of Pythium isolates. Learn more in “A Diagnostic Guide for Pythium Damping-Off and Root and Stem Rot of Cucurbits” published in Plant Health Progress.

Source: The American Phytopathological Society