Effect of treating soybean with 2,6-dichloroisonicotinic acid (INA) and benzothiadiazole (BTH) on seed yields and the level of disease caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in field and greenhouse studies

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Field or greenhouse grown soybeans were treated with 2,6-dichloroisonicotinic acid or benzothiadiazole and subsequently assessed for severity of white mold disease caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Three or four applications of 2,6-dichloroisonicotinic acid to field plots in 1993–1995 reduced severity of white mold after natural infection by 20–70% compared with water-treated controls in soybean cultivars Elgin 87 and Williams 82, which are considered to be highly susceptible to the disease. The effect was not as large in the cultivars Corsoy 79 and NKS19-90 which are more resistant to white mold. Two or four applications of benzothiadiazole to field plots in 1995 and 1996 reduced white mold severity by 20–60%, with the greatest reductions again observed in the more susceptible cultivars. Corresponding yields were increased compared with controls, particularly for the susceptible cultivars under conditions of high disease pressure. In greenhouse trials multiple applications of either compound resulted in significantly smaller lesion diameters following subsequent leaf inoculations with the fungus. The compounds did not result in observable phytotoxicity or inhibit growth of Sclerotinia sp. in vitro. We hypothesize that the decrease in disease severity following treatment with INA or BTH is a result of resistance induction.

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