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Development of a Rapid Method Using Oxalic Acid to Assess Resistance Among Hosta Cultivars to Petiole Rot Caused by Sclerotium rolfsii var. delphinii

    Authors and Affiliations
    • Zhihan Xu , Hampton Road AREC, Virginia Tech, Virginia Beach, VA 23455 (previously of Iowa State University)
    • Mark L. Gleason
    • Daren S. Mueller , Iowa State University, Ames IA 50011

      A rapid assay was developed to assess hosta cultivars for resistance to petiole rot caused by Sclerotium rolfsii var. delphinii. Leaves of greenhouse-grown hosta (Hosta kikutii and Hosta spp. cultivars Munchkin, Lemon Lime, Tardiflora, Pearl Lake, Zounds, Gold Drop, Halcyon, and Honeybells) were treated with 20 ml of oxalic acid (50 mM) on a cotton swab, then incubated at 100% relative humidity and 27°C. After 4 days, incidence of leaves with lesions was evaluated. Cultivars Munchkin, Lemon Lime, and Tardiflora had a relatively high incidence of leaves with lesions, whereas Gold Drop and Halcyon had much lower incidence. These results were generally consistent with those of field and greenhouse cultivar screening tests in which whole plants were inoculated with the pathogen and rated for disease incidence. Additional screening methods, including spray application of either oxalic acid or mycelial fragments of S. rolfsii var. delphinii, were not as repeatable or simple to conduct as the cotton swab assay. The cotton swab method showed potential to accelerate identification of highly resistant hosta cultivars, and thereby aid efforts to breed resistance to petiole rot.

      Accepted for publication 1 December 2008. Published 28 January 2009.