The effect of a mixture of seed-borne Microdochium nivale var. majus and Microdochium nivale var. nivale infection on Fusarium seedling blight severity and subsequent stem colonisation and growth of winter wheat in pot experiments.
Greenhouse experiments were conducted in order to determine the impact of seed-borne Microdochium nivale var. nivale and var. majus inoculum, and seed treatment with a carboxin+thiram mixture, on the development of seedling blight, and on subsequent stem colonisation and growth of winter wheat (cv. Cadenza). Experiments were conducted at temperatures favourable (3°C) and unfavourable (22°C) to M. nivale. Seed-borne inoculum resulted in seedling blight symptom development when plants were grown at 3°C, but not when plants were grown at 22°C. For seedlings grown at 3°C, plants arising from heavily blighted seedlings developed more severe symptoms of stem colonisation, when compared with those arising from seedlings from carboxin+thiram treated seeds. In addition, the vigour of such plants (assessed by determining the number of tillers and ears per plant, stem length, green leaf area, dry weight and yield) was also significantly lower than for plants arising from carboxin+thiram treated seeds. Microdochium nivale var. majus and var. nivale appeared to have little effect on plant vigour from seedlings grown at 22°C. This is the first recorded incidence of seedling blight affecting subsequent plant growth. Microdochium nivale var. majus and var. nivale stem colonisation increased from growth stage (GS) 40-49 to harvest in plants raised from seedlings grown at both temperatures. Microdochium nivale var. majus and var. nivale were isolated from the second node at GS 40-49 and the third node at harvest of plants from seedlings grown at 3°C. For plants from seedlings raised at 22°C, M. nivale var. majus and var. nivale were isolated from the first node at GS 40-49 and the second node at harvest. Carboxin+thiram seed treatment decreased the extent and severity of stem colonisation on plants from seedlings grown at 22°C.