Use of multiline cultivars and cultivar mixtures for disease management

Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2002;40:381-410. doi: 10.1146/annurev.phyto.40.011402.113723. Epub 2002 Feb 20.


The usefulness of mixtures (multiline cultivars and cultivar mixtures) for disease management has been well demonstrated for rusts and powdery mildews of small grain crops. Such mixtures are more useful under some epidemiological conditions than under others, and experimental methodology, especially problems of scale, may be crucial in evaluating the potential efficacy of mixtures on disease. There are now examples of mixtures providing both low and high degrees of disease control for a wide range of pathosystems, including crops with large plants, and pathogens that demonstrate low host specificity, or are splash dispersed, soilborne, or insect vectored. Though most analyses of pathogen evolution in mixtures consider static costs of virulence to be the main mechanism countering selection for pathogen complexity, many other potential mechanisms need to be investigated. Agronomic and marketing considerations must be carefully evaluated when implementing mixture approaches to crop management. Practical difficulties associated with mixtures have often been overestimated, however, and mixtures will likely play an increasingly important role as we develop more sustainable agricultural systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Crops, Agricultural / classification
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics*
  • Crops, Agricultural / microbiology
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Models, Genetic
  • Plant Diseases / genetics*
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases / virology
  • Plant Viruses / genetics
  • Plant Viruses / pathogenicity
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Species Specificity
  • Virulence / genetics