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Basal rot is a common disease in lettuce greenhouses. A 3-year study on the diversity of pathogens associated with basal rot in Belgium was carried out. A total of 150 isolates were collected originating from 56 greenhouses. Four pathogens appeared to be involved. Rhizoctonia solani was found to be the causal agent at 23 locations, Sclerotinia spp. at 14, Botrytis cinerea at 17 and Pythium spp. at seven. The isolates of R. solani were further characterised to anastomosis groups and subgroups using morphological characteristics, pectic zymogram and PCR-RFLP. Five anastomosis groups could be distinguished: AG1-1B, AG4 HGI, AG10, AG2-1, AG2-1 Nt and AG3, with isolates of AG4 HGI and AG1-1B being the most prevalent and the most aggressive. Sclerotinia sclerotiorum was found at 13 locations, while S. minor was found at only one location. Based on ITS-sequencing Pythium isolates were assigned to three different species. At 20A degrees C, isolates of all pathogens were able to cause lesions on detached lettuce leaves, except isolates of R. solani AG3 and AG2-1 Nt. A correlation could be found between the occurrence of the pathogens and the growing season. Botrytis cinerea was the most common pathogen in winter, whereas R. solani was most frequently isolated in summer. Sclerotinia spp. and Pythium spp. were isolated in spring, summer and autumn. The information obtained in this study will be most useful in the development of an alternative control strategy for causal agents of basal rot.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Plant Pathology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)9-19
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1-May-2009

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