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Influence of Light, Relative Humidity, and Maturity of Populations on Discharge of Ascospores of Venturia inaequalis

September 1998 , Volume 88 , Number  9
Pages  902 - 909

David M. Gadoury , Arne Stensvand , and Robert C. Seem

First and third authors: Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva 14456; and second author: Department of Plant Pathology, Plant Protection Centre, Norwegian Crop Research Institute, Fellesbygget 1432 Ås, Norway

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Accepted for publication 4 June 1998.

Ascospore release in 20 populations of Venturia inaequalis was generally suppressed in wind tunnel tests during darkness and simulated rain, but the following relieved this suppression: (i) exposure to low relative humidity during simulated rain and (ii) protracted incubation of leaf samples and the consequent senescence of the pathogen population. No counterpart to (i) was observed under orchard conditions. Although V. inaequalis also released a high percentage of ascospores during darkness in field studies under simulated rain late in the season of ascospore release, this phenomenon has not been reported for natural rain events. A threshold value of 0.5 μW/cm2 at 725 nm was identified as the minimum stimulatory light intensity. Ascospore release increased with increasing light intensity from 0.5 to 5.2 μW/cm2 at 725 nm. There was also an intrinsic increase in ascospore release as duration of rain increased. In orchards, the combined impact of both processes is probably responsible for a delay in reaching peak ascospore release at several hours after sunrise. Ascospore release during darkness will generally constitute a small proportion of the total available supply of primary inoculum. Significant ascospore release, and therefore infection periods, can be assumed to begin shortly after sunrise, when rain begins at night in orchards with low potential ascospore dose (PAD). A PAD level of 1,000 ascospores per m2 of orchard floor per season is suggested as a threshold, above which the night-released ascospores should not be ignored.

Additional keywords: aerobiology , epidemiology , infection periods .

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society