Conner, R. L., Chang, K. F., Hwang, S. F., Warkentin, T. D. and McRae, K. B. 2013. Assessment of tolerance for reducing yield losses in field pea caused by Aphanomyces root rot. Can. J. Plant Sci. 93: 473-482. Aphanomyces root rot, caused by Aphanomyces euteiches Drechs., is a serious disease of peas (Pisum sativum) that can severely reduce seed yield, and few effective control measures are available. The development of pea cultivars with tolerance or partial resistance to Aphanomyces root rot is generally considered to be one of the best options to reduce yield loss. A 4-yr field study was conducted at disease-free sites and at an Aphanomyces root rot site to compare the responses of cultivars and lines in the presence and absence of Aphanomyces root rot, identify breeding lines with tolerance and to evaluate the effects of tolerance on plant growth, disease severity and yield. At the Aphanomyces root rot site, a second test was established in which the phosphite fungicide Phostrol™ was applied as a soil drench treatment to the pea cultivars and lines. Aphanomyces root rot reduced seedling emergence, biomass production and yield in the susceptible pea genotypes. However, line 00-2067 consistently produced relatively high yields at all the field sites. At the Aphanomyces root rot site, yield was closely associated with plant vigour and shoot weight. Small, but significant, differences (P<0.05) in disease severity were observed between susceptible cultivars and tolerant lines indicating that the lines producing high yields at the Aphanomyces root rot site are tolerant rather than partially resistant. The root/shoot weight ratio was very low in the tolerant lines, indicating that even though their root systems were reduced and severely damaged by root rot, they were still able to produce high yields under favourable conditions for the disease. Drench application of the fungicide Phostrol™ did not significantly reduce root rot severity or improve the performance of any of the pea cultivars or lines.
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Vol. 93 • No. 3