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Infection of Cranberry Flowers by Monilinia oxycocci and Evaluation of Cultivars for Resistance to Cottonball

December 1999 , Volume 89 , Number  12
Pages  1,127 - 1,130

P. S. McManus , V. M. Best , and R. P. Voland

Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706

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Accepted for publication 20 August 1999.

Infection of cranberry flowers by conidia of Monilinia oxycocci, the cottonball pathogen, was investigated using a squash-mount histological method. Conidia germinated on anthers, nectaries, petals, and stigmata, but not styles. The stigma was the only flower part penetrated by the fungus, but no specialized infection structures were noted. Both fungal and pollen germ tubes grew through the stylar canal and made contact with ovules and nucellar tissue by 72 h after inoculation and pollination. Cottonball incidence was greatest when stigmata were inoculated; the low level of cottonball that resulted from inoculation of other flower parts and in noninoculated flowers was attributed to contamination of stigmata. In greenhouse tests, cottonball incidence was 25, 28, 31, and 38% for cvs. Searles, Pilgrim, Ben Lear, and Stevens, respectively, and was greater for M. oxycocci isolate 593 than isolate 591. We conclude that the stigma is the sole floral infection court for conidia of M. oxycocci and that the most popular cranberry cultivars in Wisconsin do not differ in inherent resistance to cottonball. The relevance of these findings to the long-term management of cottonball is discussed.

© 1999 The American Phytopathological Society