Botrytis gray mold testing in lentils is offered by the North Dakota State Seed Department's diagnostic lab. Botrytis gray mold was reported in North Dakota in 2011, according to the North Dakota State University Extension Service. It also has been found in other pulse crop-growing areas, such as southern Canada.
Botrytis is a seed-borne mold pathogen that can be found on a variety of crop species, including pulse crops such as lentils. Botrytis can spread in infected fields easily and cause large areas of crop loss under the correct conditions. Botrytis causes lentil seeds to shrink, shrivel and become stained.
Testing for botrytis is an effective way for growers to monitor seed lots and aid in controlling the spread of the disease, says Jeff Prischmann, diagnostic lab manager. Testing is conducted in a similar fashion as an ascochyta test, which uses a 500-seed sample. Results are reported as the percentage of infected seeds found in the 500 seeds.
The cost of the botrytis test is $100 per sample. The seed department also offers a fungal scan test on lentils for botrytis and ascochyta for a reduced price of $180 per sample. Samples submitted for testing should be representative of the seed lot.
The bottom line on any seed health test is to examine the results in relation to the crop and consider identifying alternate seed sources if the results are high, Prischmann says. Most seed-borne diseases need optimum conditions to spread during the growing season. Just because a pathogen is present in a sample doesn't necessarily mean that the disease will be found in the field next year. However, it is more likely that the disease will be present in the field the next year with increasing levels of seed infection.