Variations in soil characteristics affecting the occurrence of Aphanomyces root rot of sugar beet - Risk evaluation and disease control

A. Olsson, L. Persson, Siv Olsson

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Damping off and chronic root rot of sugar beet caused by Aphanomyces cochlioides is a major constraint in cultivation of sugar beet, with occurrence of the disease in Sweden being concentrated to specific areas. This study examined soil factors that can be used for risk assessment of Aphanomyces root rot. Soils from 134 field plots were assessed over three years for Aphanomyces root rot potential in bioassays and analysed for easily measured soil factors such as soluble nutrients, pH and soil electrical conductivity (EC). Classification of the field plots into four groups with increasing disease severity index (DSI) according to the bioassay revealed that the group with the lowest DSI (<39) had an average soil calcium (Ca) content of 430 mg/100 g and a soil EC of 1.12 mS/cm, which were significantly higher than in the groups with DSI >40. From these results, we concluded that soil Ca concentration is an easily measured factor that can be used to identify soils with an increased risk of Aphanomyces root rot. We suggest that the Ca content should be above 250 mg Ca/100 g soil to avoid problems with Aphanomyces root rot in sugar beet. To gain a more thorough understanding of the geographical variation in Aphanomyces root rot and its connection to the geological origin of the soils, a number of other soil factors were analysed in the field plots, including clay mineralogy, CEC, and particle size distribution. Aphanomyces root rot was very rare in soils with a high proportion of smectite and vermiculite relative to illite and kaolin minerals, here predominantly calcareous soils developed on clay till in south-western Scania. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-323
JournalSoil Biology & Biochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Geology


  • Aphanomyces cochlioides
  • Clay mineralogy
  • Root rot potential
  • Sugar
  • beets
  • Calcium


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