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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

A robust hydroponic-based system for screening red clover (Trifolium pratense) for Fusarium avenaceum

Jambagi, Shridhar; Dixelius, Christina


Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is an important forage legume crop that suffers likemost perennial crops from attacks by soil-borne pathogens.Fusariumroot rot is oneof the most serious diseases and at the same time problematic to identify resistancebecause of its hidden life in the soil. Current screening methods are laborious andhampered by limited reproducibility. To remedy this situation, we aimed to establisha simple and reliable hydroponics-based screening system to facilitate studies of redclover–Fusarium avenaceuminteractions. First, the fungal spore concentrations werebalanced toward the development of red clover plants grown hydroponically. Wefound that the optimum concentration was 30,000 spores in 2 L of hydroponicmedium to ensure infection during the plant growth period in this system. The proce-dure was scaled-up to screen plants from 25 populations to identify red clover indi-viduals with the improved resistance toF. avenaceum. Susceptible plants hadapproximately two-fold higher amounts of fungal DNA than resistant plants, demon-strating a correlation between the disease readings of the plants and pathogen DNA.We foresee this screening procedure meeting the needs of both applied breedingwork and in-depth molecular studies of responses between this pathogen and itshost plant. This method could be applied for the screening of other plant species forresistance toFusariumspp. or to other root microbes.


Fusarium avenaceum; hydroponics; red clover; rhizobium; root rot

Published in

Legume Science
2023, Volume: 5, number: 4, article number: e209