Suppression of Alfalfa Growth by Concommitant Populations of Pratylenchus penetrans and two Fusarium species


  • B. E. Mauza
  • J. M. Webster


Growth of alfalfa (Medicago sativa cv. Vernal) seedlings was compared after inoculation with combinations of either Pratylenchus penetrans and Fusarium soloni or P. penetrans and F. oxysporum f. sp. medicaginis. A synergistic disease interaction occurred in alfalfa when F. oxysporum and P. penetrans were added simultaneously to the soil. Alfalfa growth was suppressed at all inoculum levels of P. penetrans and F. oxysporum, but not with F. solani. Seedlings inoculated with the nematode alone gave lower yields than when inoculated with either Fusarium species alone. Fusarium oxysporum, but not F. solani, was pathogenic to alfalfa under similar experimental conditions. Fusarium oxysporum did not alter the populations of P. penetrans in alfalfa roots, whereas the presence of F. solani was associated with a diminished number of P. penetrans in the roots. Key words: alfalfa , decreased yield, synergistic interaction, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. medicaginis, F. solemi, Pratylenchus penetrans.