Dr. Hagop S Atamian
Chia (Salvia Hispanica) cross breeds were planted in the summer of 2018 with the intent of selective breeding for agricultural benefit. Preexisting pathogens in the soil caused 40-50% fatality of adult plants. This was surprising due to the precursory knowledge that chia has antibiotic and antifungal oils (Elshafie et. al. 2018); chia was only recently documented to be susceptible to Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum). The primary pathogen responsible was identified as Macrophomina phaseolina (aka charcoal rot); a widespread soilborne pathogen which has multiple commercial hosts (Su et. al. 2001).
M. phaesolina on wheat seed vector where used as inoculums (Brandari 2017) for chia to evaluate disease progression and symptoms in chia. Samples of this trial produced M. phaseolina from diseased chia tissues confirming susceptibility to M. phaseolina; in addition carefully sampled root and stem fractions identified the pathology of fungus from root to stem. The two parental varieties of the cross, chia-Pinta and chia-Tropic continue to be compared for their disease resistance to M. phaseolina. Identifying disease resistant genes allows for breeding of resistant cultivars, improving the marketability of chia.
Misaka, Reis M.; Atamian, Hagop S. Dr.; and Besnard, Julien Dr., "Reporting Charcoal Rot in Chia and Developing a Susceptibility Assay" (2019). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 335.
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