Brassica Growers Conference 2010: Warwick HRI scientists develop new clubroot detection technology

New methods for detecting clubroot that are being developed by scientists at Warwick HRI could "really improve things" for growers.

Dr Roy Kennedy told delegates at the Brassica Growers Conference (19 January) that, thanks to research carried out at the university, there is now the potential to detect clubroot at lower spore concentrations than what is picked up by the lateral flow device (LFD).

The spores are detected using an electronic reader, which is able to calculate the level of infestation, unlike the LFD.
On the LFD — nicknamed the "pregnancy test" — a line appears when the disease is present but the extent of the problem is still unknown.  

Kennedy added that researchers at Warwick have also successfully achieved magnetic separation — that is, separating clubroot spores from soils. This, he said, means that the clubroot is effectively "fished" out of the soil. "It is hoped that the addition of these [two] steps to the LFD protocol will enable reliable "in field" detection of clubroot resting spores in all soil types. It's going to be a great step forward."

If they are still viable, resting spores can induce the disease in the vegetables years after it first appeared in the crop. New methods for checking if these resting spores are viable have therefore also been developed, said Kennedy. Researchers are staining them to check for the presence of a nucleus, he explained.

"If positive, [this] would indicate potentially viable spores. Spores that do not contain a nucleus can be considered as non-viable as they would not be able to produce a zoospore, which is the spore type that infects roots."

Brassica Growers Association vice-chairman Alistair Ewan told Grower after the conference that the LFD, which has been developed by scientists over recent years, is set to be trialled on a semi-commercial basis this year. He said: "We are hoping the device will go commercial in 2011." The new electronic device is also being trialled this year.

Kennedy also revealed at the conference that trials conducted last year on commercial crops of calabrese near Crail, Scotland, showed that British Sugar's Limex appears to be an effective control method for clubroot.

Each of the four different rates of Limex — which is sugar beet lime and a byproduct of sugar production — applied over the entire trial were successful in reducing clubroot on plants.

 

Subscribe to Horticulture Week for more news, more in-depth features and more technical and market info.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

What is being done to develop biocontrols against orchard pests?

What is being done to develop biocontrols against orchard pests?

The SIVAL horticultural trade show in Angers, France, this week (16-18 January) heard about several initiatives to promote more environmentally sustainable orchard growing.

What does the 25-year plan mean for growers?

What does the 25-year plan mean for growers?

Published on 11 January, the Government's long-awaited 'A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment' brings together a number of policy strands into a single framework that will impact many sectors, not least fresh produce, over the coming decades.

What will 'embracing change' mean for horticulture?

What will 'embracing change' mean for horticulture?

At the Oxford Farming Conference, whose theme was "embracing change", Defra secretary Michael Gove expanded on what a post-Brexit UK agriculture and land-use policy will look like and how it will impact farmers and growers.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon