There’s a new name for the canola disease that first showed up in Canada in a research plot in Manitoba in 2014.
Caused by the fungus Verticillium longisporum, the disease was referred to by its common name in Europe: verticillium wilt.
The problem is it doesn’t appear to cause wilting in canola.
“The symptoms that we’re seeing with this disease are definitely not wilting. In fact, it’s really hard to see symptoms at all. If you do see some symptoms, it’s more streaking or striping of the stem,” explains Clint Jurke, agronomy director for the Canola Council of Canada.
To better reflect those symptoms, the Canadian verticillium stakeholders committee, led by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, recently decided to refer to this disease caused by Verticillium longisporum as “verticillium stripe”.
As Jurke explains, the name “verticillium wilt” was first used in Europe when researchers mistakenly thought the disease was caused by a different pathogen — Verticillium dahliae, which causes wilting in crops like potatoes and sunflowers and is also known as verticillium wilt in those crops.
If you do see wilting in a Canadian canola field, it’s more likely caused by clubroot, sclerotinia or blackleg, he notes.
The Canola Council’s Clint Jurke explains the change in terminology involving this new-to-Canada canola disease.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency led a nationwide survey for the pathogen in 2015 and recently released the results, showing the fungus is present in at least six provinces, from BC to Quebec. The CFIA is now in the process of determining whether it should be a regulated pest — a decision that’s expected later this summer or fall.
As noted in this Canola School episode, further research on verticillium stripe is on hold until the CFIA determines its regulatory status, although there will be some work done on fields where the pathogen has already been identified.
While there are still many questions that need to be answered about verticillium stripe in canola, Jurke says “it’s unlikely that it is causing a significant yield loss.”
“In fact, in Manitoba, where the pathogen seems to be more abundant, we had the second biggest canola crop we’ve had,” he points out. “It’s not very likely that it is causing any significant yield concerns for us, but to answer that fully we do need to do some research on it to understand it better.”
- Canola School: New Disease Found in Six Provinces
- First North American Case of Canola Disease Found in Manitoba
- Canola School: Verticillium Wilt Confirmed in Canola — What Now?