Database Research Summaries
2018 Effect of Soybean Cyst Nematode on Fusarium Root Rot of Soybean

calendar_today Year of Research: 2018
update Posted On: 12/05/2019
group Berlin Nelson (Principal Investigator, North Dakota State University)
bookmark North Dakota Soybean Council

Research Focus

The focus of this project is to determine the effect of soybean cyst nematode on root rot caused by these two Fusarium pathogens.


Determine the effects of soybean cyst nematode on Fusarium root rot caused by the pathogens Fusarium solani and F. tricinctum.


  1. Plants are more likely to suffer from Fusarium root rot when there is a high level of pathogen in the soil, and when plants are stressed by environmental factors such as lack of water, high temperatures or biological factors such as presence of other pathogens. Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is common in many ND soybean fields. SCN causes wounds as they penetrate the roots and they change the physiology of the root while feeding. The nematode therefore could increase the damage caused by Fusarium root rot.
  2. Greenhouse and field studies were conducted over two years to investigate this potential problem. Results indicated when levels of Fusarium are high and environmental conditions are conducive for root rot, the addition of SCN to the soil will generally have no effect on damage to the plant because Fusarium root rot will have destroyed much of the roots, or even killed the plant.
  3. When the Fusarium levels are low to moderate and root rot is less severe, the addition of SCN to the soil can result in greater damage to the plant compared to plants growing with SCN alone or Fusarium alone. These results are more likely to occur at higher than lower SCN egg levels in soil. Growth characteristics such as plant height and weight can all be reduced by the addition of SCN in the presence of some root rot. Also, the severity of Fusarium damage on the roots can be increased by SCN.
  4. At low levels of Fusarium inoculum and moderate to high egg levels of SCN, the interaction of these two pathogens can reduce plant growth and increase root rot severity. Management of SCN should also focus on keeping egg levels low in infested fields to avoid interactions with soil borne fungal pathogens.



Understanding which factors affect root rot and subsequent damage to soybean are necessary to develop strategies for management of root rot diseases.

For more information about this research project, please visit the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database.

Funded in part by the soybean checkoff.