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Developing and assessing molecular diagnostic procedures for rapid, specific and sensitive detection of root rot pathogens in symptomatic dry bean roots

Root rot is a major disease of common bean and can cause significant yield reductions due to reduced plant stands and weakened root systems. More information is needed on root rot pathogens, including their distribution and field cropping history, to develop best management practices for this disease complex. Traditional cultural methods used to isolate and identify potential pathogens are relatively slow whereas DNA-based technologies increase the specificity and sensitivity of pathogen detection. 

This research is evaluating commercial crops of dry bean for root rot. Fungal colonies from root rot lesions will be isolated and Fusarium and Rhizoctonia spp. will be identified. Distribution of pathogenic root rot fungi and the effect of cropping history on disease severity will also be assessed. This study will lead to development of molecular diagnostic tools that improve the efficiency, accuracy and speed of detection and identification of root rot pathogens. Such tools are critical to crop protection and crop improvement including germplasm evaluation for host resistance, breeding for pathogen resistance, surveillance surveys and diagnosing crop problems in producer fields.

Genetic Improvement
Project Title: Develop and assess molecular diagnostic procedures for the rapid, specific and sensitive detection of root rot pathogens in symptomatic dry bean roots
Funding partners: Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers, Ontario Bean Growers and Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada
Research Team: Dr. Debra McLaren – AAFC Brandon; Dr. Robert Conner – AAFC – Morden; Dr. Stephen Strelkov – University of Alberta


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