Control of seed-borne diseases of linseed.
The commonest seedborne pathogens of linseed in the UK are Alternaria linicola, Fusarium avenaceum [Gibberella avenacea] and Botrytis cinerea. They are carried in the seed coat in the form of resting hyphae and are quickly activated on germination of the seed. In the absence of control measures they can reduce germination, crop vigour and yield. The most effective method of control is by seed treatment although fungicide-insensitivity problems have arisen with A. linicola. Fungicides, applied to the growing crop, have been shown to reduce disease caused by B. cinerea, to increase yield and to reduce the amount of pathogens on the capsules and seed although this may not always be economic. Reduction in the level of pathogens has also been achieved by sprays of spore suspensions of Epicoccum nigrum. This paper was presented at a conference entitled Production and protection of linseed, held at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK, 18 Dec. 1991.