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Essential plant nutrients impair post-germination development of Striga in sorghum

Essential plant nutrients impair post-germination development of Striga in sorghum

Mwangangi, Immaculate, Buchi, Lucie ORCID: 0000-0002-1935-6176, Runo, Steven and Rodenburg, Jonne ORCID: 0000-0001-9059-9253 (2023) Essential plant nutrients impair post-germination development of Striga in sorghum. Plants People Planet (PPP). pp. 1-14. ISSN 2572-2611 (Online) (doi:

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Striga hermonthica is a widespread parasitic weed in sub-Saharan Africa and an important biotic constraint to sorghum production. Resistant varieties and fertilisers are crucial components of integrated Striga management. N and P fertilisers reduce the production of host-plant strigolactones, known as Striga germination stimulants, and thereby reduce infection. Whether essential plant nutrients affect the parasite–host interaction beyond Striga germination is unknown.
We conducted mini-rhizotron assays to investigate the effects of macronutrient and micronutrient availability on post-germination Striga development. Four sorghum genotypes (Framida, IS10978, N13, IS9830) covering the complete array of known mechanisms of post-attachment resistance were compared with susceptible genotype Ochuti. Plants were infected with pre-germinated Striga seeds and subjected to four nutrient treatment levels: (1) 25% of the optimal concentration of Long Ashton solution for cereals; (2) 25% macronutrient and optimal micronutrient concentration; (3) optimal macronutrient and 25% micronutrient concentration; and (4) optimal macronutrient and micronutrient concentrations.
Compared with the 25% base nutrient level, treatments supplemented with macronutrients reduced the number of viable vascular connections established by pre-germinated Striga seedlings as well as the total parasite biomass on the sorghum root system. Macronutrient treatment effects were observed across sorghum genotypes, independent of the presence and type of post-attachment resistance, but appeared to specifically improve mechanical resistance, hypersensitive and incompatibility responses before Striga reaches the host-root xylem.
This study demonstrates, for the first time, that nutrient availability drives Striga parasitism beyond the germination stages. Increased availability of nutrients, in particular macronutrients, enhances host-plant resistance in post-attachment stages, reinforcing the importance of current fertiliser recommendations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: fertiliser; host resistance; mini-rhizotron root; parasitic weeds; Sorghum bicolor; witchweed
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QK Botany
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Ecosystem Services Research Group
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2023 12:01

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