Plant Pathology Department


Date of this Version



Published in Water Resources Bulletin, vol. 11, no. 4 (August 1975), pp. 796–804.


Copyright © 1975 American Water Resources Association. Used by permission.


Systematic sampling of waterways and irrigation runoff from agricultural lands in the North Platte Project of Nebraska in July and August of 1972–1974 demonstrated that phytopathogenic organisms were disseminated. The organisms monitored included the bean common blight bacterium Xanthomonas phaseoli, the bean white mold fungus Whetzelinia sclerotiorum and various nematodes. Although many types of nematodes often were recovered from irrigation water, Heterodera sp. cysts which cause significant disease problems in the valley were found infrequently. Patterns of movement of the bacterial and fungal organisms were correlated with previous or current season infection of bean plants. The short-term survival of X. phaseoli in sterile deionized water may explain the detection of this organism only in runoff or ditches receiving runoff from common blight infected bean fields. Sclerotial bodies of W. sclerotiorum remained viable for at least 10–21 days in flowing water and were found throughout the irrigation waterways. Irrigation of beans with contaminated water can result in both common blight and white mold diseases. Dissemination of phytopathogenic organisms in irrigation reuse systems as well as agricultural land runoff should be considered in irrigation planning and system design.