Evaluation of oilseed rape seed yield losses caused by Leptosphaeria biglobosa in central China
Fitt, Bruce D.L.
Phoma stem canker of oilseed rape (Brassica napus), caused by Leptosphaeria maculans/L. biglobosa is a globally important disease. Severe phoma stem canker symptoms have been observed on winter oilseed rape in China but the seed yield loss caused by this disease remains unknown. In May 2012 and May 2013, 17 and 13 crops were surveyed, respectively, in seven counties of Hubei Province, central China. Stems with phoma stem canker disease symptoms were sampled for pathogen isolation and identification. Only L. biglobosa was identified by culture morphology and species-specific PCR; no L. maculans was found. To evaluate the yield losses, yield components (number of branches per plant, number of pods per plant, 1000-seed weight, number of seeds per pod) were assessed on healthy and diseased plants sampled from crops in four counties and on plants from inoculated pot experiments (plants of three cultivars were inoculated at the green bud stage by injecting L. biglobosa conidia into the stem between the first and second leaf scars). Results of the field surveys showed that diseased plants had 14–61% less branches and 32–83% less pods than healthy plants, respectively. The estimated seed yield loss varied from 10% to 21% and from 13% to 37% in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In the pot experiments, there were no differences in numbers of branches or pods but there were differences in number of seeds per pod between inoculated and control plants. For the three cultivars tested, the inoculated plants had yield losses of 29–56% compared with the control. This study indicates that L. biglobosa could cause substantial seed yield loss in China.