European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 153, Issue 1, pp 65–78 | Cite as

Relationship study among soils physico-chemical properties and Monosporascus cannonballus ascospores densities for cucurbit fields in Tunisia

  • Abdelhak Rhouma
  • Ibtissem Ben Salem
  • Mahmoud M’hamdi
  • Naima Boughalleb-M’HamdiEmail author


Monosporascus cannonballus is a prominent soil-borne pathogen in the principal Tunisian cucurbits growing areas. One experimental field, was chosen for this study at three growing seasons (A: 2009/10; B: 2010/11 and C: 2013/14), located in the High Institute of Agronomy Chott Meriem (Sousse, Tunisia). The aim of this investigation was to assess the relationship between physicochemical soils properties and spatial distribution of M. cannonballus ascospores densities. The results revealed that ascospores were recovered from all soil subplots at different depths. The highest ascospores density was recorded at 10–20 cm (2.24 ascospores/g soil). At the horizontal distribution, the first (A) and third (C) growing seasons have registered an ascospores level increase with values of 2.13 and 2.17, respectively. Only the first growing season had shown a uniform horizontal distribution. Obtained results revealed an augmentation of the ascospores number at the growing season C with a dissimilar distribution. In general, ascospores densities differed according to the experiments but values were clustered to 1.1–2 ascospores/g of soil which could be favorable for the disease. The physicochemical soils properties analysis at 10–20 cm depth, showed that the soils present a low level of organic carbon and matter, with a pH of 7.78. The soils were mainly sandy, with highly electrical conductivity (2.57 ds m−1), a C/N ratio of 8.11% and silt percent of 4.33%. The principle component analysis (PCA) for the fourteen quantitative traits indicated that the first two PCs explained 57.28%. Four factors exhibited a significant positive correlation with ascospore density; organic matter (r = 0.77), organic carbon (r = 0.74), the mass of nitrogen (r = 0.7) and electrical conductivity (r = 0.61). To control Monosporascus cannonballus in field within IPM strategies, soils physico-chemical properties should be taken in consideration.


Ascospores Physicochemical properties Soil Spatial distribution 



This study was financed by UR13AGR03, University of Sousse, Tunisia. We ared grateful to Pr. Josep Armengol, Instituto Agroforestal Mediterráneo (IAM); Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), Spain for reviewing the paper.


This research was supported by UR13AGR03, University of Sousse, Tunisia. The experiments comply with the current laws of the country in which they were performed.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human participants and/or animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Planteziektenkundige Vereniging 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdelhak Rhouma
    • 1
  • Ibtissem Ben Salem
    • 1
  • Mahmoud M’hamdi
    • 2
  • Naima Boughalleb-M’Hamdi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences and Plant Protection, High Institute of Agronomy of Chott MariemUniversity of SousseSousseTunisia
  2. 2.Department of Horticultural Sciences and Vegetable Crops, High Institute of Agronomy of Chott MariemUniversity of SousseSousseTunisia

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