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Ecology and Control of Root Rot and Vine Decline of Muskmelon
The phenomenon of root rot/vine decline of muskmelon due to the infection of (Monosporascus cannonballus) is known in many regions around the world. This disease can be very severe, capable of destroying the entire crop in many fields. To date, disease management in the world has been mainly based on methyl bromide fumigation of the soil prior to planting. Since methyl bromide use will be prohibited in the near future, there is an urgent need to develop alternative strategies for disease management. The land use is very intensive and continuous cropping of melon is common in Taiwan. The fungus may be widespread and persistent in soils that crop rotation is of limited value. There is no suitable fungicide to be used to control this disease in fields either, although fluaznam was the most effective one against the fungus among many fungicides tested in vitro. Therefore, grafting melon plants onto resistant rootstocks was an approach studied in Japan, Israel, Greece and some Asian and European countries. However, muskmelon is usually grafted onto the same species, but very rarely onto pumpkin and white gourd rootstocks, since fruit shape and the taste of plants grafted onto pumpkin, show a remarkable deterioration. The pathogen's ascospores are unable to geminate on agar media. The biology and ecology of this disease are still not clear so far. It is difficult to complete the Koch's Rules to do the identification work. Thus, in this project, we propose to study the host range and ecological behavior of the pathogen in soils, and to develop a suitable grafting method and suitable rootstocks for melon plants to control this disease in greenhouse and field.
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