Project Details:

Title:
Developing tools to protect soybean stand from seedling disease caused by Pythium species

Parent Project: Developing tools to protect soybean stand from seedling disease caused by Pythium species
Checkoff Organization:Iowa Soybean Association
Categories:Soybean diseases
Organization Project Code:
Project Year:2018
Lead Principal Investigator:Alison Robertson (Iowa State University)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Keywords: Pythium, Pythium Seed Decay, Seedling disease, Soybean Planting Date

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

To optimize yield, soybean farmers are planting earlier each year, which increases the risk of detrimental effects due to cold temperatures. It is not uncommon to have cold fronts (abundant rainfall and soil temperatures dropping below 55F) occurring during the planting period (mid-April through mid-May). Cold, wet soils slow the germination process and increase the risk of seedling disease caused by Pythium species that can result in stand loss. As seed costs increase, it becomes economically important to ensure that every seed planted becomes a productive plant. Our proposed research “will increase soybean farmer competitiveness”, through the development of improved tools (seedling disease risk model, genetic markers for Pythium resistance and cold tolerance) that will improve “productivity and profitability while improving environmental stewardship”. Specifically, this project will improve our understanding of the soybean-Pythium interaction. We expect to identify the germination/emergence developmental stage(s) at which soybean is most susceptible to infection and evaluate the effect of cold stress on this susceptibility. These data together with data from seed treatment field trials (funded by ISA and industry) will be used to develop a seedling disease risk tool that soybean farmers could use to schedule planting and make seed treatment decisions to ensure successful stand establishment. Moreover, we will identify screen varieties that vary in cold tolerance for susceptibility to Pythium species to determine if there is a relationship.

Project Objectives

Objective 1: To determine how timing of cold stress affects susceptibility to Pythium
Objective 2: To identify when during germination and emergence are soybeans most susceptible to Pythium
Objective 3: To determine if cold tolerance and susceptibility to Pythium is correlated
Objective 4. To develop a seedling disease risk assessment model that growers could use to schedule planting

Project Deliverables

Identify period during germination when cold stress increases susceptibility to Pythium (Obj. 1)
Identify when during germination and emergence soybean is most susceptible to Pythium (Obj. 2)
Screen NAM parents for cold tolerance (Obj. 3)
Screen varieties with various levels for cold tolerance for Pythium resistance (Obj. 3)
Capture seedling disease and weather data (Obj. 4)
Develop an empirical seedling disease risk model (Obj. 4)
Test seedling disease risk model (Obj. 4)
Share data with Iowa stakeholders via twitter, blogs, newsletters,

Deliverables
Identification of periods at or after planting that soybean is at risk for infection by Pythium
Identification of periods at or after planting when soybean emergence may be reduced due to seedling disease
Seedling disease risk “add-on” to the Soybean Planting Decision Tool and/or FACTS forecast
Social media blog posts and tweets
Peer reviewed manuscripts

Outcomes
Reduced stand losses due to seedling disease
Improved profitability of soybean farmers through strategic use of seed treatment, optimized planting dates resulting in less risk of replanting, and higher yields.
Improved understanding of Pythium-soybean interaction by scientific and agricultural communities

Progress of Work

Updated April 1, 2018:
All PIs met in January to discuss data that needs to be compiled to develop a seedling disease risk “add-on” to the Soybean Planting Decision Tool and/or FACTS forecast.
Data is currently being captured and modeling will begin in late Spring.

A manuscript reporting results for Objective 1 was accepted pending revision:
Serrano, M. and Robertson, A.E. XXXX. The effect of cold stress on damping off of soybean caused by Pythium sylvaticum. Plant Dis. (accepted pending revision).
A second manuscript reporting data for Objective 2 is currently being written. It will be submitted in April 2018.

Data from this project was shared with ~200 Iowa Stakeholders at the 2018 Crop Advantage Series in Waterloo in January 2018.

Updated February 13, 2019:
Objective 1: To determine how timing of cold stress affects susceptibility to Pythium

We determined that cold (<50F) stress periods (2 to 4 days long) that occur 1 to 4 days after planting increase susceptibility to Pythium and consequently reduce emergence and stand count.
Two peer reviewed papers based on this research were published.
In addition a research highlight was published on the Soybean Research and Information Initiative website (http://www.soybeanresearchinfo.com/index.php?id=55&p=2&search=#ontitle).

Objective 2: To identify when during germination and emergence are soybeans most susceptible to Pythium.

Susceptibility of soybean to infection by Pythium depended on the species and temperature at planting. In general, soybean was very susceptible during the early stages of germination (inbibition, radicle emergence, hypocotyl elongation) and susceptibility declines as the soybeans emerge. A poster discussing this work was presented at the International Congress of Plant Pathology in Boston, MA, July 29-Aug 4, 2018 (attached).

Objective 3: To determine if cold tolerance and susceptibility to Pythium is correlated

We screened the SoyNAM parents, and varieties that vary in resistance to cold tolerance, for susceptibility to Pythium. Data were confounded by seed quality, and further studies were not pursued.


Objective 4. To develop a seedling disease risk assessment model that growers could use to schedule planting

Data from Objective 1 and 2 were used to start developing a seedling disease risk model. All PIs met in September. Additional experiments to provide data on the effect of planting depth, soil temperature and moisture are currently in progress. These data are needed for improved model development. The model will be validated using data from seed treatment trials that has been captured. A 3 month extension has been requested to finish up this objective.

View uploaded report PDF file

Final Project Results

Updated May 27, 2019:
Objective 2: To identify when during germination and emergence are soybeans most susceptible to Pythium.

Data were analyzed and a manuscript is being drafted for submission to Plant Disease. At 18°C, soybeans were most susceptible to Pythium root rot at either GS1 (water imbibition [0-1 day after planting [DAP]), GS2 (radicle growth [1-3 DAP]), or GS3 (emergence [4 DAP]) depending on the species. With a period of cold stress (10°C) soon after planting, soybeans were most susceptible to Pythium root rot at either GS1 (water imbibition [0-1 day after planting DAP]) or GS2 (radicle growth [1-3 DAP]) depending on the species. At 7-10 DAP, little infection of soybean by Pythium was observed.


Objective 4. To develop a seedling disease risk assessment model that growers could use to schedule planting

A model was developed to predict emergence and seed loss as a function of temperature, planting depth, soil moisture, presence of inoculum of a soil borne pathogen (Pythium sylvaticum), and use of fungicide seed treatment. Experiments in 8oz foam cups filled with vermiculite under controlled conditions were conducted to study the effect of each factor on soybean emergence and seed loss. The number of emerged soybean plants were recorded daily. At least 5 replications (cups) were evaluated per treatment. Two independent runs were performed for each experiment.
Experiment 1: the seeds were planted at 10, 18, 27, 35 and 40 °C.
Experiment 2: the seeds were planted at 18 °C in cups at three different soil depth: 0 inch (0 mm), 1 inch (25.4 mm), 2 inch (50.8 mm) and 3 inch (76.2 mm).
Experiment 3: seeds were planted at 18 °C in a factorial experiment with naked seeds or fungicide treated seed, cups inoculated with Pythium sylvaticum or non-inoculated cups, and three different soil moistures (10, 22 and 40 %VWC) to simulate conditions of water deficit, optimal and saturated soil condition. Seed was treated with Intego Suite™ (clothianidin, ethaboxam, ipconazole and metalaxyl) according to label recommendations. Pythium sylvaticum inoculum was grown on millet seed. 5 ml of infested millet or sterile millet (non-inoculated control) were added to each cup. Soil moisture was monitored with a moisture sensor SM 100 and recorded with a data logger Watch Dog 1000 Series, Spectrum Technologies®.

Data analysis. Emergence curves over time were plotted for each treatment using ggplot2 package in R, version 1.2.1139 (© 2009-2018 RStudio, Inc.). Emergence rate was calculated dividing 1 by days to 50 % emergence (days required for 50% of the seeds to emerge). Days to 50% emergence were interpolated using the function aprox() for each emergence curve. Seed loss expressed as percentage was calculated for each curve by subtracting the maximum emergence to 100. Emergence rate and Seed loss (%) were plotted versus each individual factor (Temperature, Planting depth, Soil Moisture, and use of seed treatment). A linear regression was performed to describe the relationship observed in each graph.

Calibration and Validation data. Data from growth chamber experiments were used as a calibration data. To validate the model, we used a consolidated data base of Robertson’s Lab seed treatment field trials (2011 to 2016) with stand count data and also data from Archontoulis Lab (FACTS project).

Results
Experimental results and derivation of model parameters. The base temperature for soybean emergence rate was 5 °C, at temperatures below °C there is no emergence. The optimum temperature for emergence was 35 °C. Between base and optimum temperature range the rate of emergence linearly increases. Beyond the optimum temperature the rate of emergence sharply declines to no emergence at 40 °C. The emergence rate was zero at 40 °C because the amount of emerged seedlings were less than 50 %. Seed loss was between 18 °C and 35 °C and increased outside this temperature range.
Planting depth was the second most important variable explaining emergence date. Time to emergence increased when the seed is planted deeper. Seed loss was minimal when seed was planted between 0 and 1 inch depth. When the seed was planted between 1 to 2 inches, seed loss increased at a rate of 0.39 % for each 1 mm increase in depth; and when the seed was planted deeper than 2 inches , seed loss increased 1.8 % for each 1 mm increase in depth.
Soil moisture also affected the time of emergence. When seeds were planted at different soil moisture (10, 22 and 40 % Volumetric Water Content, VWC) representing wilting point, field capacity and saturation. The emergence rate was slightly higher at field capacity; and similarly, seed loss was slightly lower when soil was at field capacity.
When the seeds were planted in cups inoculated with Pythium sylvaticum, the use of a seed treatment increased emergence rate. Similarly, seed loss was substantially reduced with the use of seed treatment.

These data were used to develop a model in APSIM (Figure 2). Input variables include Sowing date, Plants (=Seeding rate), Planting depth, Seed treatment and Pathogen (= history of seedling disease). Examples of output scenarios are shown in Figure 3. In this scenario, a planting date of May 5 was used, and a planting depth of 2.0". Treated seed reached 50% emergence 1 day behind naked seed in optimum moisture conditions, however, 84% (32 of 38 seed per 10.8 square feet) of treated seed emerged compared to 58% of naked seed. In wet conditions, naked seed reached 50% emergence 26 days after planting (DAP) compared to treated seed that reached 50% emergence 22 DAP. The number of plants emerged for naked seed in wet conditions was considerably lower (8 of 38 seed planted) than for treated seed (29 or 38 seed planted).

View uploaded report PDF file

View uploaded report 2 PDF file

View uploaded report 3 PDF file

In Iowa, frequent rains and cool temperatures at planting favor seedling diseases of soybean caused by pathogens that live in the soil. These pathogens belong to the following genera: Pythium, Fusarium, Phytophthora and Rhizoctonia. To protect against seedling disease, soybean seed can be coated with a combination of fungicides called a seed treatment. Seed treatments are an extra input cost for farmers. If conditions are warm and dry after planting, it is possible that a farmer may not need to spend money on seed treatment.

The goal of our research was to improve our understanding of the factors that favor soybean seedling disease caused by Pythium species. Although farmers try to plant when conditions are good (warm and moist), it is not uncommon for cold fronts to pass through the state resulting in cold, wet (saturated) conditions soon after planting. Therefore we evaluated the effect of cold stress on seedling disease. We also did experiments to identify when during germination or emergence the soybean seedling was infected by Pythium. These data plus additional data on the effect of planting depth, soil moisture and seed treatment were used to develop a model for predicting stand loss due to soybean disease. This tool could be used by soybean farmers could use to schedule planting and make seed treatment decisions to ensure successful stand establishment. Lastly, we tested soybean varieties to see if there was a relationship between seedling disease caused by Pythium species and cold tolerance (early season vigor).

We demonstrated that when cold (<55F), wet soil conditions occurred 2 to 4 days after planting, there was more seedling disease that if soil temperatures were at 60F and increasing. Using a seed treatment mitigated the seedling disease and emergence of treated soybean in cold, wet conditions was equivalent to soybean planted in warm, moist conditions. Infection of soybean primarily occurred 1 to 4 days after planting (seed imbibition and emergence of the radicle). These data suggests that if a cold front occurs more than 4 days after planting, there will be minimal seedling disease.

We were unable to determine a relationship between cold tolerance and seedling disease. Since seed quality can affect early season vigor and seedling disease, it is possible seed quality may have confounded our results.

An emergence model is available in APSIM for farmers to compare various scenarios and make seed treatment (or simply planting) decisions. To compare scenarios, a farmer inputs the following data: planting date, seeding rate, seeding depth, soil moisture, whether the field has a history of stand establishment problems and if a seed treatment was used. Running the model estimates the time to 50% emergence and number of plants emerged for each scenario. Currently, the model can only be run in APSIM, but we hope to secure funding to make the model available as a web-based tool, and perhaps even a smartphone app.

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

Performance Metrics

The following papers were published in peer reviewed journals:
Serrano, M. and Robertson, A.E. 2018. The effect of cold stress on damping off of soybean caused by Pythium sylvaticum. Plant Dis. 102: 2194-2200
Serrano, M., McDuffee, D. and Robertson, A.E. 2018. Seed treatment reduces damping-off caused by Pythium sylvaticum on soybeans subjected to periods of cold stress. Can. J. Pl. Path. https://doi.org/10.1080/07060661.2018.1522516

The following papers are will be submitted to peer-review journals
Serrano, M., Robertson, A.E. and Archontoulis, S. XXXX. Development of a model for predicting soybean seedling disease and enabling seed treatment decisions.
Mathiessen, R. and Robertson, A.E. XXXX. Effect of germination stage and root zone on susceptibility of soybean to infection by Pythium species that cause pre- and post-emergence damping off in Iowa.


The following abstracts were published:
Serrano-Porras, M., Archonopolis, S. and Robertson, A.E. 2019. Pythium sylvaticum delays soybean emergence and increases seed loss at high soil moisture. Phytopathology 109.XX
Matthiesen, R. L. and Robertson, A.E. 2018. Germination stage affects susceptibility of soybean to Pythium species (Abstr.) Phytopathology 107:S5.217.
Serrano, M. and Robertson, A. E. 2017. The effect of cold stress on damping-off of soybean caused by Pythium sylvaticum. (Abstr.) Phytopathology 107:S5.1.
Matthiesen, R. L. and Robertson, A.E. 2017. Susceptibility to infection of soybean to P. sylvaticum depends on germination stage. (Abstr.) Phytopathology 107:S5.106.

Newsletter articles and Blogs
Robertson, A., Serrano-Poras, M., and Wiggs, S. 2016. Evaluations of commercial seed treatments on soybean at three locations in Iowa in 2015. Integrated Crop Management News http://bit.ly/25KV2ZM
Did the pathogen host the party or just show up? 5/20/2016. http://bit.ly/242ct4x
Who gets to the seedling disease party first? 4/15/2016. http://bit.ly/1Vq79bf
Do cold, wet soils increase the risk of soybean seedling disease? 4/4/2016. http://bit.ly/1YvXUEm

Videos
Temperature Affects Pathogenicity and Fungicide Sensitivity of Pythium on Soybean. vimeo.com/129920314

Presentations
2018 Corn and Soybean seed treatments. Crop Advantage Series, Waterloo (150 attendees)
2017 Insights into factors affecting risk of seedling disease. SeedWorld Webinar (110 online attendees)
2017 Using seed treatments to manage seedling disease. 2017 Iowa Soybean Association Research Conference. Des Moines, IA. (120 attendees)
2016 Research update on seedling diseases of soybean. NCERA 137 Annual Meeting, FL (30 attendees)
2016 Pythium Research review. DuPont-Pioneer Lumisena Meeting, Johnston, IA (30 attendees)
2016 Obsessed with triangles. PLPM Seminar Series, Iowa State University, Ames, IA (50 attendees)
2016 Obsessed with the disease triangle. Agronomy Seminar Series, Iowa State University, Ames, IA (60 attendees)
2016 Soybean seedling disease and seed treatments. Iowa Soybean Association Board Meeting, Ames IA (25 attendees)



Project Years