HortScience (2015) 50, 1625-1630

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Jesse Wimer, Debra Inglis and Carol Miles (2015)
Field and greenhouse evaluations of cucurbit rootstocks to improve Verticillium resistance for grafted watermelon
HortScience 50 (11), 1625-1630
Abstract: Grafting watermelon (Citrullus lanatus Thunb.) onto resistant rootstocks is used in many areas of the world to overcome soilborne disease losses including verticillium wilt caused by Verticillium dahliae Kleb. Currently, this disease poses a serious risk to watermelon growers in Washington State. To identify resistant rootstocks, the verticillium wilt reactions (chlorosis, necrosis, and wilting) of 14 nongrafted PI accessions including Benincasa hispida Thunb., Cucurbita moschata Duchesne ex Poir., and Lagenaria siceraria Molina Standl. from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Plant Germplasm System (USDA NPGS); 11 nongrafted commercially available rootstocks; and, nongrafted 'Sugar Baby' watermelon (verticillium wilt–susceptible control) were visually assessed in a field naturally infested with V. dahliae at a rate of 17 colony-forming units (cfu) per gram of soil. Typical symptoms of verticillium wilt were observed on all entries. 'Sugar Baby' had the highest relative area under disease progress curve (RAUDPC) value (26.80), which was not significantly different from '64-19 RZ', 'Marvel', PI 368638, PI 634982, and PI 642045 (average = 10.16). PI 419060 (1.46) had the lowest RAUDPC value, which was not significantly different from 'Miniature Bottle Gourd', PI 326320, PI 419016, PI 536494, PI 636137, 'Strong Tosa', 'Strongtosa', and 'TZ 148' (average = 3.36). The mean RAUDPC value of PI accessions (5.49) did not differ significantly from the mean value of the commercial rootstocks (5.68). Microsclerotia typical of Verticillium spp. were observed in the stems of all but one entry (PI 181913). In a greenhouse study, a subset of 12 entries were inoculated with V. dahliae, and by 22 days after inoculation (DAI), 'Sugar Baby' had a significantly higher disease rating than all entries except PI 419060, PI 438548, and 'Titan'. A strong positive correlation was observed between the field and greenhouse studies. Results indicate that commercial rootstocks as well as PI accessions could be used to successfully manage verticillium wilt in Washington; however, grafting compatibility with watermelon must first be ascertained for the promising PI accessions. Although greenhouse-based verticillium wilt assays can be used to help predict rootstock performance in the field, accurate assessment may require manipulating environmental conditions (e.g., temperature and humidity) to approximate field conditions.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
resistance/tolerance/defence of host

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Verticillium dahliae Watermelon/colocynth (Citrullus) U.S.A. (NW)