Phytophthora in chickpea varieties HER15 trial –resistance and yield loss

Take home message

  • In a wet season, substantial (94%) yield losses from PRR occur in susceptible varieties such as PBA Boundary.  Do not grow PBA Boundary if you suspect a PRR risk
  • Varieties with improved resistance to PRR (PBA HatTrick and Yorker) can also have large yield losses (68-79%) in a very heavy PRR season
  • Although yield losses will occur in very heavy PRR seasons, crosses between chickpea and wild Cicer species such as the breeding line CICA1328 offer the best resistance to PRR
  • Avoid paddocks with a history of lucerne, medics or chickpea PRR

Varietal resistance to phytophthora root rot

Phytophthora medicaginis, the cause of phytophthora root rot (PRR) of chickpea is endemic and widespread in southern QLD and northern NSW, where it carries over from season to season on infected chickpea volunteers, lucerne, native medics and as resistant structures (oospores) in the soil.  Although registered for use on chickpeas, metalaxyl seed treatment is expensive, does not provide season-long protection and is not recommended.  There are no in-crop control measures for PRR and reducing losses from the disease are based on avoiding risky paddocks and choosing the right variety.

Detailed information on control of PRR in chickpea is available at the Pulse Australia website

Current commercial varieties differ in their resistance to P. medicaginis, with Yorker and PBA HatTrick having the best resistance and are rated MR (historically Yorker has been slightly better than PBA HatTrick), while Jimbour is MS - MR, Flipper and Kyabra are MS and PBA Boundary has the lowest resistance (S). PBA Boundary should not be grown in paddocks with a history of PRR, lucerne, medics or other known hosts such as sulla. 

From 2007 to 2015 PRR resistance trials at the DAF Qld Hermitage research Facility, Warwick QLD have evaluated a range of varieties and advanced PBA breeding lines.  Each year the trial is inoculated with P. medicaginis at planting.  There are two treatments, (i) seed treatment with thiram + thiabendazole and metalaxyl and regular soil drenches with metalaxyl (Note: soil drenches with metalaxyl not currently registered) and (ii) seed treatment with thiram + thiabendazole only with no soil drenches.  The first treatment has prevented infection by the PRR pathogen in all of these trials.  The difference in yield between the metalaxyl-treated plots and untreated plots are used to calculate the yield loss caused by PRR i.e. % loss = 100*(Average yield of metalaxyl-treated plots – Average yield of nil metalaxyl plots)/ Average yield of metalaxyl-treated plots.

Yields in metalaxyl-treated plots were close to seasonal averages for the 2015 season with the lowest yielding breeding lines and varieties (CICA1328, Yorker and PBA HatTrick) yielding close to 2.5 t/ha (Table 1). 

In 2015 the level of PRR in the trial was considerably higher than those previous seasons such as 2014 (Table 2).  For example yield losses were greater than 40% for CICA1328 in 2015 but only 1.8% in 2015 and yield losses for PBA Boundary were 94% in 2015 and 74% in 2014.  However, the 2015 trial again confirmed that Yorker and PBA HatTrick had better resistance than PBA Boundary (Table 1), which has been consistent across previous trials.

Results for the high PRR disease season of 2015 showed that susceptible varieties sustain substantial yield loss from PRR and that varieties with moderate resistance have reduced losses.  The 2015 trial again confirmed the superior PRR resistance of the PBA breeding line CICA1328 which is a cross between a chickpea (Cicer arietinum) line and a wild Cicer species.

CICA1007 was included in the 2015 trial because it has high yield and large seed size in a Yorker background. In the absence of PRR it was the second highest yielder in the trial (2.93t/ha) and its yield loss to PRR was similar to Yorker

Table 1. Yields of commercial chickpea varieties and breeding lines protected from Phytophthora root rot, and % yield losses from PRR in a 2015 trial at Warwick QLD.  (P Yield<0.001; lsd Yield = 0.46)

Variety/lineA

Yield (t/ha) in absence of Phytophthora infection

Yield (t/ha) in presence of Phytophthora infection

% yield loss due to Phytophthora infection

CICA1328A

2.64

1.54

41.7

D06344>F3BREE2AB027 A

2.52

1.05

58.4

PBA HatTrick

2.50

0.81

67.7

Yorker

2.61

0.57

78.7

CICA1007

2.93

0.71

75.9

CICA0912

2.76

0.37

86.6

PBA Boundary

2.88

0.17

94.0

A These lines are crosses between chickpea (C. arietinum) and a wild Cicer species

Table 2. Yields of commercial chickpea varieties and breeding lines protected from Phytophthora root rot, and % yield losses from PRR in a 2014 trial at Warwick QLD.  (P Yield<0.05; lsd Yield = 0.80)

Variety/lineA

Yield (t/ha) in absence of Phytophthora infection

Yield (t/ha) in presence of Phytophthora infection

% yield loss due to Phytophthora infection

CICA1328A

2.76

2.71

1.8

Yorker

3.01

2.69

10.4

CICA1211

3.01

2.66

11.6

D06344>F3BREE2AB027 A

2.93

2.13

27.4

PBA HatTrick

2.94

1.98

32.8

CICA0912

3.23

1.79

44.6

PBA Boundary

2.79

0.73

73.8

A These lines are crosses between chickpea (C. arietinum) and a wild Cicer species

Acknowledgements

Thanks to growers and agronomists for help with crop inspections and submitting specimens, to Woods Grains, Goondiwindi for planting material for trials and to chemical companies who provided products for research purposes and trial management.

This research is made possible by the significant contributions of growers through both trial cooperation, field access and the support of the GRDC, the authors would like to thank them for their continued support.

Contact details

Kevin Moore
NSW Department Primary Industries
Mb: 0488 251 866
Fax: 02 6763 1100
Email:  kevin.moore@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Varieties displaying this symbol beside them are protected under the Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994.

GRDC Project code: DAN00176, DAN00151, DAQ00186, DAS00137