Developing Effective Treatments for Eradication of Xanthomonas cucurbitae in Pumpkin Seed

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2015: $9,990.00
Projected End Date: 03/30/2017
Grant Recipient: University of Illinois
Region: North Central
State: Illinois
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Mohammad Babadoost
University of Illinois

Annual Reports


  • Vegetables: cucurbits


  • Pest Management: chemical control

    Proposal abstract:

    Pumpkin is a major crop in the North Central Region (NCR) and Illinois is the leading state in pumpkin production in the nation. Bacterial spot, caused by Xanthomonas cucurbitae, is an emerging disease in cucurbits, mainly affecting pumpkin and winter squash. Yield losses up to 90% have been documented in some pumpkin fields. Because of the heavy yield losses, some grower in NCR stopped producing pumpkins. No resistant cultivar of pumpkin or other cucurbits to X. cucurbitae is known; no effective crop rotation for management of bacterial spot has been established yet; and no effective chemical for control of this disease is available. X. cucurbitate is a seed borne pathogen, but no seed treatment for eradication of the pathogen has been developed. This is a proposal for developing reliable seed treatments for eradication of X. cucurbitae in pumpkin seed. Three methods will be evaluated for developing effective seed treatment for eradication of X. cucurbitae in pumpkin seed, which includes hot-water, sodium hypochlorite (NaClO), and hydrochloric acid treatments. For hot-water treatment, samples of  200 seeds will be treated separately in water at 49°C, 51°C, 53°C, 55°C and 57°C each for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 min. For sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) treatment, concentration of NaClO at 0.5, 1, 1.5, and 2%, with 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 min treatment time will be evaluated. For hydrochloric acid (HCl) treatment, concentrations of 3, 5, 7, and 10% of HCl acid with treatment times of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 min will be evaluated. Following the treatment, seed will be washed with SDW. Treated seed will be tested for presence of X. cucurbitae, seed germination, and seedling vigor. The most effective treatments for eradication of X. cucurbitae in seed will be selected. Also, treated seed will be planted in a greenhouse to check for seedling infection and plant vigor. The most effective treatments without adverse effect on seed germination and seedling vigor will be used for treating seeds. The developed methods will be presented to growers, extension educators, and industry personnel and published in extension websites and newsletters, and peer-reviewed journals. Developed seed treatments are expected to be implemented immediately. Effective seed treatment is expected to reduce disease occurrence significantly.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The outcome of this project will be control of seed-borne X. cucurbitae in pumpkin, and other cucurbit crops. X. cucurbitae, the causal of bacterial spot of cucurbits, survives from one season to the next season in seed. Seed-borne inoculum of X. cucurbitae is very important, because the pathogen spread in both short and long distances. Developing effective seed treatments will help growers and seed industry to manage this emerging and destructive disease in pumpkins and other cucurbits. Effective control of seed-borne X. cucurbitae will result in effective management of bacterial spot of pumpkins and other cucurbits, sustainable production of cucurbit crops, and higher income to the growers. The seed industry and growers will learn and practice seed treatments and effectively manage bacterial spot in their crops. 


    Outcomes from this project will be shared through a variety of settings and communication vehicles, including a range of meeting presentations and proceedings, field days and demonstrations, print and electronic media, magazines and refereed journal articles, web sites, and web-based newsletters. Results will be presented during the well-established meetings in Illinois, and other states of NCR, as well as in national and international meetings. In addition to meeting presentations, the results will be published in Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News, a web-based newsletter garnering more than 60,000 hits/page views per year; Vegetable and Fruit Pathology Website ( with more than 200,000 hits/page views per month, and other appropriate newsletter.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.