Powdery mildew of brassicas, caused by Erysiphe cruciferarum, is an emerging threat to oilseed Brassica production in Australia. Resistance to powdery mildew was assessed in 112 current and historic Australian Brassica napus canola cultivars and five cultivars of B. juncea mustard cultivars under controlled environmental conditions. Only 18% of leaf area was infested by the end of the test on the most resistant cultivars, compared with means of up to 70% for the most susceptible cultivars as well as severe stem and pod infection. For B. napus, cultivars with the greatest potential for reducing the impact of powdery mildew in the field were Trooper, Bravo TT, Summit, Tumby, Narendra and Hyola 650TT, all ranked in the 10% of cultivars with the lowest leaf infestation (Area Under The Disease Progress Curve (AUDPC) <537) and with <10% of stem area infested. For B. juncea, the level of leaf infestation was lowest for Sahara CL and Xceed X121 CL (AUDPC 303 and 380 respectively), but the high levels of stem infestation (42% and 28% respectively) in these cultivars may reduce their usefulness in the field. The most resistant cultivars identified can be immediately deployed into regions where powdery mildew is prevalent, providing the canola industry with an immediate and effective option for management of this increasingly troublesome disease.
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Vol. 67 • No. 11