This study investigated the effects of inoculum concentration, application pressure, use of carbon dioxide (CO2), and agitation associated with passage through a spray nozzle on zoospore survival and on foliage blight caused by Phytophthora nicotianae. In a greenhouse experiment, plants of Catharanthus roseus were inoculated by spraying zoospore suspensions at pressures of 210, 420, and 630 kPa (30, 60, and 90 lbs/in2 [psi]). A low-pressure 35-kPa (5-psi) control inoculation was provided with a hand-operated aspirator-type mister. There was a consistent reduction in level of disease with increased application pressure, regardless of the zoospore concentration. To determine the source of this disease reduction, laboratory assays were conducted. Zoospore suspensions were pressurized to 210, 420, and 630 kPa with CO2 or air, then transferred from the pressure bottle into a flask by either spraying or pouring. From the flask, the suspensions were spread over plates of PARP-V8 agar and incubated for 72 h, at which time total colony numbers were recorded. CO2 significantly reduced zoospore survival. Pressure strength and method of spore transfer out of pressure bottles also impacted survival to lesser extents. There were significant interactions between pressure source and means of spore suspension transfer, and between pressure strength and means of spore transfer. These results may lead to development of alternative methods of water decontamination to prevent inoculum from entering crop systems through irrigation water.
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