, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 194-202
Date: 22 Apr 2009

The Occurrence and Economic Impact of Plasmodiophora brassicae and Clubroot Disease

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Abstract

The significance of Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin and clubroot disease which it incites in members of the family Brassicaceae is reviewed as the focus for this special edition of the Journal of Plant Growth Regulation. This is a monographic treatment of recent research into the pathogen and disease; previous similar treatments are now well over half a century old. Vernacular nomenclature of the disease indicates that it had a well-established importance in agriculture and horticulture from at least the Middle Ages onward in Europe and probably earlier. Subsequently, the pathogen probably spread worldwide as a result of transfer on and in fodder taken by colonists as livestock feed. It is a moot point, however, whether there was much earlier spread by P. brassicae into China and subsequently Japan as Brassica rapa (Chinese cabbage and many variants) colonized those lands in archaeological time. Symptoms, worldwide distribution, and economic impact are briefly described here to provide a basis for understanding subsequent papers. Clubroot disease devastates both infected field and protected vegetable and agricultural Brassica crops. Particular importance is placed on recent reports of crop losses in tropical countries, albeit where the crops are grown in cooler altitudes, and in the Canadian prairie land canola crops. The latter is of enormous importance because this crop is the single most important and essential source of vegetable oils used in human foodstuffs and in industrial lubricants where mineral oils are inappropriate.