Susceptibility of wild carrot (Daucus carota ssp. carota) to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum
Sclerotinia soft rot, caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, is a severe disease of cultivated carrots (Daucus carota ssp. sativus) in storage. It is not known whether Sclerotinia soft rot also affects wild carrots (D. carota ssp. carota), which hybridise and exchange genes, among them resistance genes, with the cultivated carrot. We investigated the susceptibility of wild carrots to S. sclerotiorum isolates from cultivated carrot under controlled and outdoor conditions. Inoculated roots from both wild and cultivated plants produced sclerotia and soft rot in a growth chamber test. Two isolates differed significantly in the ability to produce lesions and sclerotia on roots of both wild carrots and cv. Bolero. Flowering stems of wild carrots produced dry, pale lesions after inoculation with the pathogen, and above-ground plant weight was significantly reduced 4 weeks after inoculation in a greenhouse test. Wild and cultivar rosette plants died earlier and fewer plants survived when inoculated with the pathogen under outdoor test conditions. Cultivar plants died earlier than wild plants, but survived as frequently. Plants inoculated in the crown died earlier and at a lower frequency than plants inoculated on leaves. Wild carrots may thus serve as a host of S. sclerotiorum and thus eventually benefit from any uptake of resistance genes, among them transgenes, via introgression from cultivated carrots.
KeywordsPathogenicity Risk assessment Genetically modified crops Wild plant–pathogen interactions
We thank Tage K. Jensen, Fårevejle for providing cultivated carrot roots and Beate Strandberg, National Environmental Research Institute, for providing wild carrots from Silkeborg. We are grateful to David B. Collinge for constructive comments. This study was financed by the Centre for Effects and Risks of Biotechnology in Agriculture, The Danish Environmental Research Programme (SMPII).
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