Rhizoctonia research

Monday, 16 July 2018

State-of-the-art scans reveal real-time root ramifications

The team behind AHDB’s rhizoctonia research has published fascinating footage of the real-time damage this soil-borne disease can inflict on oilseed rape (OSR) and wheat crops.

Rhizotonia solani can kill crop seedlings before or soon after they emerge – this is often referred to as ‘damping-off’.

The researchers used high-resolution x-ray micro computed tomography (X-ray μCT) to reveal the effect of the pathogen on OSR and wheat roots growing in soil.

The videos, published on the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Facebook page, show clearly how the disease can cause reductions in root number, root volume and root surface area.

Watch the OSR root growth (control v pathogen) scan

Watch the OSR root necrosis caused by rhizoctonia scan

Watch the wheat root growth (control v pathogen) scan

Such technology makes the study of roots easier, particularly because it is a relatively quick and non-destructive method.

The current AHDB project looks to identify genetic traits associated with resistance to R. solani in OSR, increase knowledge of disease epidemiology and yield loss, and investigate the potential of low-dose seed treatments targeted at soil-borne disease.

Due to conclude in 2019, a key output of the work will be to produce the first guidelines for the integrated control of R. solani in OSR.

The project is one of twenty-four innovative agri-tech projects awarded a share of £16 million funding through the government’s Agri-Tech Catalyst. 

The project has been awarded £619,000, which includes £80,000 from AHDB, and is being delivered by Syngenta and the University of Nottingham, funded by BBSRC and part-funded by Innovate.

More information about the project is published at cereals.ahdb.org.uk/rhizoctonia

Images taken from the CT scan videos (source)

The videos were published originally in the following paper

Frontiers in Plant Science (24 June 2015)

Effects of damping-off caused by Rhizoctonia solani anastomosis group 2-1 on roots of wheat and oil seed rape quantified using X-ray Computed Tomography and real-time PCR

Craig J. Sturrock (1), James Woodhall (2), Matthew Brown (1), Catherine Walker (1), Sacha J. Mooney (1) and Rumiana V. Ray (1)

(1) School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, UK

(2) The Food and Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, UK

Access the paper