Effect of method of inoculation, inoculum density and seedling age at inoculation on the expression of resistance of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) to Verticillium dahliae Kleb.

M L V Resende, J Flood, Richard M Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Soil drench and stem puncture inoculation were compared as methods for selecting cocoa cultivars with resistance to Verticillium dahliae. Disease progress was more rapid and induced symptoms were more severe following stem puncture and, under glasshouse conditions, differences between cultivars were detected 15 days after inoculation. Moreover, using stem puncture, inoculum densities of 104 conidia/ml were sufficient to differentiate resistant and susceptible cultivars, whereas with the soil drench method, inoculum densities of 107 conidia/ml were necessary. Although a substantially higher proportion of plants were affected by stem puncture inoculation, the resistance of cultivar Pound-7 remained effective at high inoculum densities of 108 conidia/ml. With either method, older seedlings were more susceptible to V. dahliae than younger ones. However, with stem puncture, 15-day-old seedlings were sufficiently susceptible for a valid disease assessment. In contrast, with soil inoculation, 60-day-old plants were required. In a nursery trial with 15-day-old seedlings, seven cocoa genotypes previously selected as resistant, moderately resistant or susceptible to Verticillium dahliae, on the basis of root inoculation, were ranked in the same order when stem punctured. Stem puncture inoculation of young seedlings is cost-effective in terms of time and space, and is therefore recommended for screening of cocoa for wilt resistance, especially in large-scale breeding programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-383
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995


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