Submitted to: Crop Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/22/2011
Publication Date: 4/20/2011
Citation: Chekali, S., Gargouri, S., Paulitz, T.C., Nicol, J., Rezgui, M. 2011. Effects of Fusarium culmorum and water stress on durum wheat in Tunisia. Crop Protection. 30(6):718-725. Interpretive Summary: Fusarium crown rot, caused by Fusarium culmorum, is an important disease of durum wheat in Tunisia, where it is a major staple crop. A combination of greenhouse and field tests showed that this disease is more severe under drought stress, and there is a difference in susceptibility among varieties.
Technical Abstract: The effects of water stress on Fusarium foot and root rot in durum wheat were investigated in growth chamber, greenhouse and field tests in Tunisia. In the seedling stage, emergence of six durum wheat cultivars in the growth chamber was significantly reduced by inoculation with Fusarium culmorum and water stress (P<0.0001), with more disease under drier conditions. Additionally, the tiller number per mature plant, the 1000 grain weight and disease severity in mature stage were reduced by inoculation in greenhouse studies. In a field test, inoculation with F. culmorum significantly reduced the yield (P<0.001), by more than 17% for Om Rabiaa and 38% for Karim, the two cultivars tested. Yield was also significantly affected by precipitation and irrigation levels. The severity of the disease, estimated by the percentage of white heads, was separately affected by the cultivar (P<0.001) and inoculation (P ¼ 0.0004). Percentage of white heads was 1.5 and 2 _ higher in inoculated plants than non-inoculated for Om Rabiaa and Karim cultivars, respectively. Disease severity was highest in treatments with the greatest water stress. This is the first detailed study of water stress and F. culmorum on durum wheat in Tunisia, and indicates that cultivar resistance and irrigation management may be important in the management of Fusarium root rot.