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Factors Affecting Latent Infection of Prune Fruit by Monilinia fructicola

September 2001 , Volume 91 , Number  9
Pages  864 - 872

Yong Luo and Themis J. Michailides

Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier 93648

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Accepted for publication 15 May 2001.

Experiments were conducted in three prune orchards in California. In each orchard, inoculations with Monilinia fructicola, the causal agent of brown rot of stone fruits, were performed on branches of trees at bloom and fruit developmental stages. Five inoculum concentrations were used in each inoculation. Six and four wetness durations were created for each inoculum concentration at bloom and fruit developmental stages, respectively. Fruit were harvested 3 weeks before commercial harvest. The overnight freezing incubation technique was used to promote sporulation and to determine incidence of latent infection (ILI) of fruit brown rot. No differences in ILI among locations were found. A seasonal pattern of bloom and fruit susceptibility to latent infection was determined. Susceptibility to latent infection at bloom stage was at a moderate level and increased to reach the highest level at pit hardening stage. Subsequently, fruit susceptibility to latent infection decreased, reaching the lowest level in early June at embryo growth stage. Thereafter, the susceptibility increased again with fruit development and maturity until harvest. Linear relationships between ILI and inoculum concentration were obtained for most combinations of growth stage and wetness duration. Incidence of latent infection increased linearly with increased wetness duration at bloom stage and increased exponentially with increased wetness duration at early and late fruit developmental stages. The optimum temperatures for latent infection at pit hardening stage ranged from 14 to 18°C, but the effect of temperature on latent infection was reduced at resistant stages. The temperature range favorable to latent infection varied for different wetness durations.

Additional keywords: Prunus domestica , quiescent infection .

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society