Bacterial soft rot caused by Erwinia carotovora subsp. carotovora is a major disease in Zantedeschia spp., particularly in cultivars from the section Aestivae. The disease can be partly controlled by cultural measures, but by combining cultural methods with resistant plant material a promising strategy for control of soft rot can be developed. No tests are available for resistance testing in breeding Zantedeschia spp. Therefore, three tests developed for use in potato breeding were adapted for use on eight cultivars of Zantedeschia spp. Variation was found in all three tests. Resistant control cultivar Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Crowborough’ scored most resistant in all three tests. Within the section Aestivae, degrees of susceptibility were identified that were in agreement with each other and with field observations, indicating reliability of two of the methods in which tubers were used. The correlation coefficient of these two tests was high. A new non-destructive test method was developed for use on seedlings which involved immersion of leaf disks in a bacterial suspension. The percentage of decayed leaf area was a measure of resistance and results were in general agreement with the other tests. These methods will be useful for breeding for soft rot resistance and performing genetic analyses.
- calla lily