First, second, and fifth authors: Biocontrol of Plant Diseases Laboratory; third author: Soybean and Alfalfa Research Laboratory; fourth author: Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory; and sixth and seventh authors: Weed Science Laboratory, ARS/USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705
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Accepted for publication 22 February 2000.
Two pathogenic fungi of opium poppy, Pleospora papaveracea and Dendryphion penicillatum, were isolated from field material in Beltsville, MD. The processes of infection by these two fungi were studied to determine the optimal environmental conditions for infection. Both fungi formed appressoria capable of penetrating directly through the plant epidermal layer. Of the two fungi, P. papaveracea was more aggressive, causing more rapid necrosis. Appressorial formation by P. papaveracea occurred as early as 4 h after application of a conidial suspension to poppy leaves. P. papaveracea formed more appressoria than did D. penicillatum, especially at cool temperatures (7 to 13°C). In greenhouse studies, P. papaveracea caused more damage to opium poppy than did D. penicillatum when applied in 10% unrefined corn oil. In the field, P. papaveracea was more consistent in its effects on opium poppy from a local seed source designated Indian Grocery. P. papaveracea caused higher disease ratings, more stem lesions, and equal or greater yield losses than did D. penicillatum on Indian Grocery. The late-maturing opium poppy variety White Cloud was severely damaged by disease, regardless of formulation or fungal treatment. P. papaveracea was the predominant fungus isolated from poppy seed capsules and the only fungus reisolated from the field the following year. These studies provide a better understanding of the infection process and the differences between these two pathogenic fungi and will be beneficial for the development of the fungi as biological control agents.
The American Phytopathological Society, 2000