The Host-Pathogen Interaction of Plasmodiophora brassicae and Canola

Agronomy Research  Diseases 
Start Date
End Date
Principal Investigator
Sheau-Fang Hwang - Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Dr. Stephen Strelkov - University of Alberta, Drs. Bruce Gossen and Hossein Borhan - AAFC Saskatoon, Dr. Mary Ruth McDonald - University of Guelph, Dr. Peta Bonham-Smith - University of Saskatchewan
MCGA Funding
Total Project Funding
External Funding Partners
Alberta Canola, SaskCanola, Canola Council of Canada, Canadian Agricultural Partnership

Research Objective

  • To explore the role of clubroot's (Plasmodiophora brassicae) zoospores* to infect canola plans and cause the plant's resistance system to kick in
  • The most effective way to define pathotypes** of P. brassicae and then develop tools at a molecular level to increase the speed of identifying these pathotypes
  • Study transformation and/or culture of P. brassicae to facilitate research into this pathogen

Project Description

Research on the clubroot pathogen, Plasmodiophora brassicae, has knowledge gaps surrounding its genetic diversity, how the disease develops, infection processes, and the role of primary and secondary pathogen zoospores* in its disease development. This project focuses on two of these knowledge gaps, one of which is the role of primary and secondary zoospores to infect the canola plants and how they cause the plant's resistance mechanisms to be turned on. A second focus is on identifying different pathotypes ("strains") to be able to identify them and understand how they connect together. Each pathotype may require different resistance approaches, so easier identification and knowledge of the "ancestral" background of the pathotype can expedite finding a resistance strategy. Having a better understanding of clubroot in these areas will facilitate further research and development to aid canola farmers, especially in the areas of genetically resistant canola cultivars and understanding the efficiency of biological and chemical controls for the pathogen.

*primary and secondary zoospores - the way the pathogen reproduces and spreads itself (a type of spore)

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