Zinc nutrition effect on the tolerance of wheat genotypes to Fusarium root-rot disease in a solution culture experiment
Zinc (Zn) nutrition and plant genotype are two factors that may affect the tolerance of wheat to root-rot diseases. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of Zn on shoot yield, root permeability and infection by Fusarium solani in six wheat genotypes with different Zn efficiency. A greenhouse (solution culture) experiment was carried out in which five bread wheat genotypes (Triticum aestivum L. cvs Rushan, Kavir, Cross, Pishtaz and Falat) and one durum wheat genotype (Triticum durum L. cv. Yav79), which are common in Zn-deficient soils of Iran and were exposed to two levels of Zn (0 and 1 μmol L–1 Zn kg−1, as ZnSO4.7H2O) and two F. solani infection levels (0 and 106 spore mL−1). Zinc deficiency significantly decreased shoot dry matter in five of the genotypes (Yav79, Kavir, Rushan, Cross and Falat), but had no effect on shoot growth in Pishtaz. Infection with F. solani significantly decreased the shoot dry matter in Yav79, but did not affect the shoot dry weight of the other wheat genotypes. Root membrane permeability was lower in the Zn treatments than in the Zn-free treatments. Zinc deficiency caused a decrease in root reactive sulfhydryl (SH) groups, particularly in the Cross genotype. Root sulfhydryl groups decreased with Fusarium infection. Zinc application sharply increased the Zn content and decreased the Mn content of the shoots. Application of Zn had a positive effect on the tolerance of wheat to F. solani root rot. The relationship between Zn nutrition and disease tolerance suggests that Zn deficiency should be treated before evaluating the cost-effectiveness of fungicides. No correlation was found between the Zn efficiency of the wheat genotypes and Fusarium root-rot disease severity in this solution culture experiment.