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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Quantification of Plasmodiophora brassicae Using a DNA-Based Soil Test Facilitates Sustainable Oilseed Rape Production

Wallenhammar, Ann-Charlotte; Gunnarson, Albin; Hansson, Fredrik; Jonsson, Anders


Outbreaks of clubroot disease caused by the soil-borne obligate parasite Plasmodiophora brassicae are common in oilseed rape (OSR) in Sweden. A DNA-based soil testing service that identifies fields where P. brassicae poses a significant risk of clubroot infection is now commercially available. It was applied here in field surveys to monitor the prevalence of P. brassicae DNA in field soils intended for winter OSR production and winter OSR field experiments. In 2013 in Scania, prior to planting, P. brassicae DNA was detected in 60% of 45 fields on 10 of 18 farms. In 2014, P. brassicae DNA was detected in 44% of 59 fields in 14 of 36 farms, in the main winter OSR producing region in southern Sweden. P. brassicae was present indicative of a risk for >10% yield loss with susceptible cultivars (>1300 DNA copies g soil(-1)) in 47% and 44% of fields in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Furthermore, P. brassicae DNA was indicative of sites at risk of complete crop failure if susceptible cultivars were grown (>50 000 copies g(-1) soil) in 14% and 8% of fields in 2013 and 2014, respectively. A survey of all fields at Lanna research station in western Sweden showed that P. brassicae was spread throughout the farm, as only three of the fields (20%) showed infection levels below the detection limit for P.brassicae DNA, while the level was >50,000 DNA copies g(-1) soil in 20% of the fields. Soil-borne spread is of critical importance and soil scraped off footwear showed levels of up to 682 million spores g(-1) soil. Soil testing is an important tool for determining the presence of P. brassicae and providing an indication of potential yield loss, e.g., in advisory work on planning for a sustainable OSR crop rotation. This soil test is gaining acceptance as a tool that increases the likelihood of success in precision agriculture and in applied research conducted in commercial oilseed fields and at research stations. The present application highlights the importance of prevention of disease spread by cleaning of farm equipment, footwear, etc.


Plasmodiophora brassicae; qPCR assay; predictive soil tests

Published in

2016, Volume: 5, number: 2, article number: 21
Publisher: MDPI