Sclerotinia stem rot (SSR), caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, is a globally important, yield limiting disease of soybean. Progress has been made in our understanding of this pathosystem at the plant level, such as the key role of oxalic acid in disease development and the importance of cell wall-degrading enzymes and other secreted proteins. Unfortunately, advances have largely focused on the fungal side of this interaction and only provide glimpses into the plant mechanisms governing resistance to this pathogen. With the absence of commercially available resistant soybeans, chemical and cultural solutions are being used by farmers to manage SSR with limited success. Additional research is needed to identify S. sclerotiorum resistance mechanisms that can be exploited to improve genetic resistance in soybean and decrease reliance on spray regimes. Technologies such as transgenics and RNAi could be exploited to improve the level of resistance to S. sclerotiorum in soybean. This review offers insight into the hurdles of managing SSR at the plant level and potential solutions that might be adopted in the future.
Journal: Tropical plant pathology