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Selection for resistance to Phytophthora pod rot of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) in Cameroon: Repeatability and reliability of screening tests and field observations

Efombagn M.I.B., Bieysse D., Nyassé S., Eskes A.. 2011. Crop Protection, 30 (2) : p. 105-110.

DOI: 10.1016/j.cropro.2010.10.012

Phytophthora pod rot (Ppr) disease caused by Phytophthora megakarya is the major constraint to cocoa production in Cameroon. The development of resistant varieties requires the use of effective resistance testing methods. The repeatability and reliability of the leaf disc and detached pod tests, as applied in selection activities in Cameroon, were studied. Repeatability of the tests was estimated by calculating the correlation (r) between resistance scores of clones, progenies and individuals within progenies in different inoculations rounds of the leaf disc and detached pod tests. Such correlations were generally significant for both tests. For the leaf disc test, as expected, correlations were lower for individuals within seedling progenies than for the average of seedling progenies or of clones. This suggests that a higher number of replicate observations are required for correct evaluation of individual seedlings than for evaluation of the average level of resistance of progenies. Observations carried out 5 or 7 days after inoculationwas highly correlated, suggesting that scoring in the leaf disc test may be done only once at 5, 6 or 7 days after inoculation. In one experiment the ranking of leaf disc and detached pod inoculation test results could be compared statistically, with data being significantly correlated (r 0.78). The reliability of the tests was evaluated by the correlations between results of the tests and the level of field infection. These were generally positive and significant, for the leaf disc and detached pod test. A variation between mean scores of 5 and 8 in the detached pod test appeared to be related to a 40% difference in field infection with P. megakarya in years with medium disease pressure. However, correlations with field resistance were not always significant, suggesting the influence of uncontrolled environmental factors affecting field observations or the results in the screening tests. It is concluded that the leaf disc and detached pod tests, if applied under standardized conditions, can be of great value to speed up selection for Ppr resistance.

Mots-clés : theobroma cacao; phytophthora; cameroun; maladie de la pourriture des gousses; phytophthora megakarya

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