Progress with chickpea root disease

Screening chickpea germplasm for resistance to Phytophthora root rot (PRR) has been given a boost by results from a NSW DPI field trial conducted in 2007.

PRR is a major constraint to chickpea production in the GRDC northern region.

A new method for generating disease in screening nurseries has been developed at Tamworth - this is based on inoculating soil with oospores, the survival structures of the pathogen.

The 2007 trial showed that the level of inoculum that allowed identification of resistant versus susceptible germplasm could be reduced from 30,000 to 2,500 oospores per plant.

Given that up to 28 kilometres of plots are inoculated each season, this reduction represents a considerable saving in time and materials and can allow breeders to screen more entries.