Interactive Effects of Groundnut Rossette Disease Infection and Drought Stress on Growth and Performance of Groundnuts (Arachis Hypogaea L.)
Groundnut (Arachis hypogea L.) production is in Ghana is affected by both biotic and abiotic factors resulting in significant losses. However, research into the impact of combined biotic and abiotic stress factors on growth of groundnut, an important crop grown in Ghana is scanty. Our research sought to give a first insight into the combined and simultaneous effect of virus and water stress effect on growth, development and yield of groundnut. Four (4) accessions of groundnut: 18001; 18002; 18003 and Chinese obtained from Kanjo in the Northern region of Ghana were subjected to water and viral stress factors in a factorial screen house experiment. The accessions were grafted with infected plant material showing visible symptoms of the Groundnut Rosette Disease (GRD) and combined with 3 different watering regimes, namely: 2-days rehydration, 3-days rehydration and 5-days rehydration. The treated accessions were subsequently monitored for their various treatment combinations using physiological, morphological and biochemical parameters. The highest mean symptom severity value of 3.9 was recorded in the combined biotic and severe abiotic stress treatment as compared to symptom severity score of 1.5 in the control. Symptoms observed in combined virus and water stress treatments (severe) included shortening of internode length, chlorosis and reduced yield. Plant height and leaf area were found to have reduced in response to both abiotic and biotic stress factors. Crop yield in terms of mean number of pods per plant were low in the combined biotic and abiotic severe water treatment. Results of the current study highlight the effect of combined virus infection and drought on groundnut production and the need to breed for virus resistant and drought tolerant varieties to ensure sustainable production.