Facilitating the delivery of practical sclerotinia stem rot risk forecasts based on improved assessment of canola petal infestation

Researcher: T. K. Turkington, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Lacombe AB, S.Strelkov, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, R. Kutcher, AAFC Melfort SK, B. Gossen, AAFC Saskatoon SK, D. McLaren, AAFC Brandon MB, K. Rashid, AAFC Morden MB

Project Code: 3.3.1

Final Report: April 2013

Summary: Sclerotinia stem rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum) is one of the most important biotic stresses influencing long-term production and economic stability for canola producers. Researchers with the University of Alberta and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada conducted a three-year study to develop a rapid, quantitative (q)PCR-based method for detection of S. sclerotiorum DNA on canola petals, which can be related to actual disease levels across the prairie canola growing region. The results indicate that this rapid, quantitative qPCR-based method was able to detect and quantify S. sclerotiorum DNA with a high level of sensitivity and specificity. This approach can provide a direct
assessment of in-field disease pressure without the 3-5 day waiting period seen with the
current agar plate petal test. If proven to work, this qPCR risk assessment tool will
assist canola producers in making informed spray decisions as part of an IPM
approach and reduce non-economic fungicide applications.

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