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Wageningen Universiteit (2006)

Influence of time and severity of Striga infection on the Sorghum bicolor - Striga hermonthica association

Ast, A. van

Titre : Influence of time and severity of Striga infection on the Sorghum bicolor - Striga hermonthica association

Auteur : Ast, A. van

Université de soutenance : Wageningen Universiteit

Grade : PhD thesis 2006

Résumé
This thesis presents the results of a study on the interaction between the parasitic weed Strigahermonthica (Del.) Benth. and sorghum ( Sorghum bicolor [L.] Moench). The main objective of the study was to investigate the effects of time and level of Striga infection on the interaction between host plant and parasite. Consequences for sorghum performance and the growth and development of the parasite were examined. A comparison between two sorghum cultivars differing in level of Striga tolerance, revealed that the absence of a negative effect of Striga infection on photosynthetic rate and a delayed time of first Striga infection both contributed to the lower extent of yield reduction of the tolerant cultivar. Likewise, in an experiment with a wide range of Striga seed infestation levels, it was observed that higher soil infestations levels did not only result in a higher Striga infection level, but also in an advanced time of first Striga infection.The importance of time of infection was further investigated in a pot experiment in which the time of infection was artificially delayed.Striga parasitism and reproduction, and the detrimental effects of Striga on crop performance could be strongly reduced by delaying the time of first infection. Prospects of reducing Striga parasitism by means of cultural control methods that are based on the principle of a delayed onset of Striga attachment were assessed. In a pot experiment, the combination ofshallow soil tillage, deep planting and the use of transplantsresulted in a four-week delay in first emergence of the parasite, a strongly reduced infection level of the sorghum host and highly improved sorghum yields. Evaluation of these methods under field conditions resulted in a 85% reduction in Striga -infection level, but as no delay in time of parasite infection was established, no beneficial effect on crop yield was obtained. Potential causes of the absence of a delay in Striga infection time under field conditions were discussed and alternative options for establishing a delayed infection in the field were proposed.

Mots clés : striga hermonthica / striga / parasitic plants / weeds / sorghum bicolor / sorghum / infection / infestation / weed control / plant ecology / ecophysiology

Présentation de la thèse

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