First and third authors: Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, One Shields Ave., Davis 95616; and second author: Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, c/o U.S. Agricultural Research Station, 1636 E. Alisal St., Salinas 93905
Sclerotial germination of three isolates each of Sclerotinia minor and S. sclerotiorum was compared under various soil moisture and temperature combinations in soils from Huron and Salinas, CA. Sclerotia from each isolate in soil disks equilibrated at 0, -0.03, -0.07, -0.1, -0.15, and -0.3 MPa were transferred into petri plates and incubated at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30°C. Types and levels of germination in the two species were recorded. Petri plates in which apothecia were observed were transferred into a growth chamber at 15°C with a 12-h light-dark regime. All retrievable sclerotia were recovered 3 months later and tested for viability. Soil type did not affect either the type or level of germination of sclerotia. Mycelial germination was the predominant mode in sclerotia of S. minor, and it occurred between -0.03 and -0.3 MPa and 5 and 25°C, with an optimum at -0.1 MPa and 15°C. No germination occurred at 30°C or 0 MPa. Soil temperature, moisture, or soil type did not affect the viability of sclerotia of either species. Carpogenic germination of S. sclerotiorum sclerotia, measured as the number of sclerotia producing stipes and apothecia, was the predominant mode that was affected significantly by soil moisture and temperature. Myceliogenic germination in this species under the experimental conditions was infrequent. The optimum conditions for carpogenic germination were 15°C and -0.03 or -0.07 MPa. To study the effect of sclerotial size on carpogenic germination in both S. minor and S. sclerotiorum, sclerotia of three distinct size classes for each species were placed in soil disks equilibrated at -0.03 MPa and incubated at 15°C. After 6 weeks, number of stipes and apothecia produced by sclerotia were counted. Solitary S. minor sclerotia did not form apothecia, but aggregates of attached sclerotia readily formed apothecia. The number of stipes produced by both S. minor and S. sclerotiorum was highly correlated with sclerotial size. These results suggest there is a threshold of sclerotial size below which apothecia are not produced, and explains, in part, why production of apothecia in S. minor seldom occurs in nature.