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Interactions Between Chill-Hours and Degree-Days Affect Carpogenic Germination in Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi

January 2001 , Volume 91 , Number  1
Pages  77 - 83

H. Scherm , A. T. Savelle , and P. L. Pusey

First and second authors: Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602; and third author: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Tree Fruit Research Laboratory, Wenatchee, WA 98801

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Accepted for publication 22 September 2000.

The relationship of cumulative chill-hours (hours with a mean temperature <7.2°C) and heating degree-days (base 7.2°C) to carpogenic germination of pseudosclerotia of Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi, which causes mummy berry disease of blueberry, was investigated. In two laboratory experiments, pseudosclerotia collected from rabbiteye blueberry in Georgia were conditioned at 5 to 6°C for 26 to 1,378 h prior to placement in conditions favorable for germination and apothecium development. The number of chill-hours accumulated during the conditioning period affected the subsequent proportion of pseudosclerotia that germinated and produced apothecia, with the greatest incidence of carpogenic germination occurring after intermediate levels of chilling (≈700 chill-hours). The minimum chilling requirement for germination and apothecium production was considerably lower than that reported previously for pseudo-sclerotia from highbush blueberry in northern production regions. The rate of carpogenic germination was strongly affected by interactions between the accumulation of chill-hours and degree-days during the conditioning and germination periods; pseudosclerotia exposed to prolonged chilling periods, once transferred to suitable conditions, germinated and produced apothecia more rapidly (after fewer degree-days had accumulated) than those exposed to shorter chilling periods. Thus, pseudosclerotia of M. vaccinii-corymbosi are adapted to germinate carpogenically following cold winters (high chill-hours, low degree-days) as well as warm winters (low chill-hours, high degree-days). Results were validated in a combined field-laboratory experiment in which pseudosclerotia that had received various levels of natural chilling were allowed to germinate in controlled conditions in the laboratory, and in two field experiments in which pseudosclerotia were exposed to natural chilling and germination conditions. A simple model describing the timing of apothecium emergence in relation to cumulative chill-hours and degree-days was developed based on the experiments. The model should be useful for better timing of field scouting programs for apothecia to aid in management of primary infection by M. vaccinii-corymbosi.

Additional keywords: thermal time , Vaccinium ashei.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2001