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Illinois University Explained Soybeans’ Weird White Mold Behavior

Illinois University explained soybeans’ weird white mold behavior found in the United States and Brazil. The research sheds a new light on the unique appearance of white mold occur on soybeans as well as other crops because of fungus in the countries, in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Embrapa Soja, Agricen Sciences and University of Illinois were involved.


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Research plant pathologist from the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Glen Hartman, who is a professor at the University of Illinois’s Department of Crop Sciences, said in a statement that, “White mold, also known as Sclerotinia stem rot, occurs worldwide, and the pathogen attacks and causes disease in many different crops. In the U.S., the fungus needs a cold period like winter before it can produce microscopic spores that infect soybean flowers in the summer. But in Brazil, the fungus does not need a cold period to produce spores.”

Findings of the research have been disclosed by the Summa Phytopathologica – the publisher of technical and scientific articles – in the article that titled as ‘Mycelial growth, pathogenicity, aggressiveness and apothecial development of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum isolates from Brazil and the United States in contrasting temperature regimes’.

Hartman added that, “Brazilian strains produced spores and infected plants without exposure to cold, but U.S. strains did not. Brazilian isolates formed spores right away. That outbreak in Kentucky is kind of curious. I think that’s the furthest south we’ve ever seen it in the U.S. in a summer crop. If that happened once, can it keep going? We don’t know, but it’s out there.”