A root-injection method to assess verticillium wilt resistance of peppermint ( Mentha × piperita L.) and its use in identifying resistant somaclones of cv. Black Mitcham
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Three studies were initially conducted using five mint cultivars with known disease reactions to verticillium wilt to determine if inoculation method, root-dip as compared to root-injection, had an affect on the plant growth and disease reaction. The planting media did not affect the development of wilt symptoms in susceptible varieties, however, the soil/peat based medium resulted in higher shoot fresh weight at harvest than the perlite/vermiculite medium. Black Mitcham had the highest susceptible disease rating and greatest reduction in fresh shoot weight from inoculation with Verticillium dahliae at two inoculum concentrations, 104 or 106 microconidia/ml. Native spearmint was resistant and Mentha crispa was moderately resistant, whereas, Murray Mitcham peppermint and Scotch spearmint were moderately susceptible to verticillium wilt with a corresponding lower fresh shoot weight. Scotch spearmint was less susceptible at the low inoculum concentration than at a higher level of microconidia, indicating a low level of disease resistance. Overall, the two inoculation methods resulted in similar cultivar responses to verticillium wilt, although the root-injection method was more applicable for large plant populations. Thus, the root-injection method of inoculation was utilized to screen 743 Black Mitcham derived somaclones for wilt resistance, of which nine somaclones were found resistant in repeated inoculation tests.
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