First Report of Sclerotinia Stem Rot of Canola Caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in Texas. Academic Article uri icon


  • During the past several years, canola (Brassica napus L.) has been grown experimentally in different areas of Texas to evaluate its potential as a crop, particularly for use as a biofuel source. In early April 2007, symptoms typical of Sclerotinia stem rot were observed in a canola variety trial that was flowering in Wharton County, Texas. Stems had white mycelia growing on the outside, or a bleached appearance, near the soil surface and plants were lodging. Inside bleached stems, there were spherical to cylindrical, black sclerotia that were 3 to 10 mm. Isolations from surface-disinfested stems onto potato dextrose agar (PDA) consistently yielded white, fluffy colonies with sclerotia typical of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary (1). Sequence analyses were conducted on two replicates of mycelium by extracting fungal DNA with the Qiagen DNeasy Plant Mini Kit (Valencia, CA). PCR amplification was performed using two primer sequences (92-4 AF377919: TCGCCTCAGAAGAATGTGC/AGCGGGTTACAAGGAGATGG; and 119-4 AF377925: GTAACAAGAGACCAAAATTCGG/TGAACGAGCTGTCATTCCC) (2) that have previously been used to characterize S. sclerotiorum (3). The BLAST search revealed that the sequences were 99 and 98% homologous with S. sclerotiorum Accession Nos. AF377919 and AF377925 over 376 and 377 bp of aligned sequence, respectively. Agar segments (1 cm2) from a 5-day-old culture grown on PDA were placed in the leaf axils of 15 2-month-old canola plants ('Wichita') growing in pots. Plants were placed in a humid chamber under fluorescent lights at 16 to 22C. After 2 days, water soaking and necrosis occurred on petioles and stems adjacent to the inoculum, but not on plants treated with sterile PDA. S. sclerotiorum was consistently reisolated from symptomatic tissue plated on acidified PDA. The inoculations were repeated once with similar results. To our knowledge, this is the first report of Sclerotinia stem rot of canola in Texas. Currently, there is no significant canola production in Texas; however, interest in biofuels could lead to an increase in planted acres. Sclerotinia stem rot of canola could become a significant disease problem in areas of Texas where canola is planted as a winter crop. References: (1) L. M. Kohn. Phytopathology 69:881, 1979. (2) C. Sirjusingh and L. M. Kohn. Mol. Ecol. Notes 1:267, 2001. (3) J. E. Woodward et al. Plant Dis. 92:1468, 2008.

published proceedings

  • Plant Dis

author list (cited authors)

  • Isakeit, T., Woodward, J. E., Niu, C., & Wright, R. J.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Isakeit, T||Woodward, JE||Niu, C||Wright, RJ

publication date

  • June 2010