Screening and identification of sunflowers for resistance with Sclerotinia Basal Stalk Rot

Basal stalk rot (BSR) of cultivated sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is caused by necrotrophic fungal pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib) de Bary and is an economically vital disease limiting sunflower production in the Northern Great Plains region of the USA. The mode of infection starts as a root infection and moves into the base of the stem, causing basal stem lesions, plant wilting, and premature senescence or death, resulting in reduced yield. Known resistance to S.sclerotorium is quantitative and no major gene is known for resistance.

The improvement of host plant resistance is an important goal for sunflower breeding, because producers have limited options for managing this disease. The studies evaluate BSR resistance using greenhouse-based method to confirm resistant accession exhibit broad spectrum resistance.

One inbred line showed a significantly higher level of resistance to both the isolates resulting in broad spectrum resistance. Future work includes molecular marker evaluation of these inbred lines with QTL markers developed from cross between HA 441 and RHA 439 to determine the likelihood of novel resistance for resistance assessment and genetic mapping. Testing additional isolates and assessing genotype x isolate interactions by two-way ANOVA to determine if these interactions are an important consideration for breeding resistance.

Read the complete research at

Angidi, Srushtideep & Pasche, Julie & Underwood, William. (2021). Greenhouse Screening and Identification of Sunflower Germplasm Line for Resistance with Sclerotinia Basal Stalk Rot. 

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