Management of Clubroot in a Dynamic Environment

Agronomy Research  Diseases 
Start Date
End Date
Principal Investigator
Sheau-Fang Hwang - Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (AARD)
Steve Strelkov - University of Alberta, Michael Harding - Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (AARD), Mary Ruth MacDonald - University of Guelph
MCGA Funding
Total Project Funding
External Funding Partners
Alberta Canola, SaskCanola, Canola Council of Canada, Canadian Agricultural Partnership

Research Objective

  • To test various clubroot management techniques in their effectiveness of reducing disease severity and yield loss
  • To investigate the strategy treating localized infestations of clubroot with soil fumigants to see if it is economical and effective
  • To investigate the impact of including clubroot-resistant (CR) canola cultivars in crop rotations
  • Determine the best ways to disinfect agricultural equipment

Project Description

Clubroot (caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae) is a very challenging disease to manage. The protist (a single-celled creature) that causes clubroot is complex, with several different life stages that take different forms. Therefore, one type of resistance strategy alone is not effective. Clubroot also produces spores (the reproductive units of clubroot) so that it can spread at an alarming rate, with each infected canola plant able to produce up to 16 billion resting spores*. Since this disease is difficult to manage, the purpose of this study was to investigate clubroot management options, including developing economical techniques to wipe out localized infestations using soil fumigants, looking at the impact of cropping rotations which include clubroot-resistant (CR) canola cultivars, and investigating the best ways to disinfect agricultural equipment. The key result from the study was that using clubroot-resistant varieties plus crop rotations with at least two years between host crops was effective in reducing clubroot's severity and yield loss. 


*resting spores are able to survive harsh and stressful climates, such as drought, and are spread around but do not become active until the conditions are favourable for it (therefore, they can lay dormant for long periods of time)

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