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Factors Affecting the Release of Ascospores of Anisogramma anomala

February 1998 , Volume 88 , Number  2
Pages  122 - 128

J. N. Pinkerton , K. B. Johnson , J. K. Stone , and K. L. Ivors

First author: USDA-ARS, Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, 3340 N.W. Orchard Avenue, Corvallis, OR 97330; second, third, and fourth authors: Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97330-2902

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Accepted for publication 13 November 1997.

Relationships between environmental factors and release of ascospores of Anisogramma anomala, the causal agent of eastern filbert blight, were examined in four European hazelnut (Corylus avellana) orchards during a 2-year period. In each orchard, Burkhard volumetric spore traps and automated weather-monitoring equipment were deployed for 12-week periods beginning at budbreak, when hazelnut becomes susceptible to infection. Ascospores of A. anomala were released when stromata on the surface of hazelnut branches were wet from rain but not from dew. Release of ascospores ceased after branch surfaces dried. The duration of free moisture on branch surfaces regulated the initiation and rate of ascospore release, but no significant effects of temperature, relative humidity, wind, or light on ascospore release were apparent. Most (>90%) ascospores were captured during precipitation events that exceeded 20 h in duration, which represented about 10% of the total precipitation events each season. Quantitative relationships between the hourly capture of A. anomala ascospores and hours since the beginning of a precipitation event were developed. With the onset of precipitation, the hourly rate of ascospore capture increased until the fifth hour of rain, remained relatively constant between the fifth and twelfth hours, and then declined gradually. During the 12-week spore-trapping periods, the likelihood and rates of ascospore release associated with precipitation were highest at budbreak and then declined through April and May until early June, when the reserve of ascospores in the perithecia was depleted. Large numbers of ascospores were captured in the volumetric spore traps, indicating that ascospores may be commonly dispersed long distances on air currents as well as locally by splash dispersal within the canopy, as reported previously. The results indicate that monitoring seasonal precipitation patterns may be useful for estimating the quantity and temporal distribution of airborne inoculum during the period that the host is susceptible to infection.

The American Phytopathological Society, 1998