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Botrytis cinerea Infection in Grape Flowers: Defense Reaction, Latency, and Disease Expression

March 2003 , Volume 93 , Number  3
Pages  316 - 322

Markus Keller , Olivier Viret , and F. Mary Cole

First author: Washington State University, Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Prosser, 99350; second author: Swiss Federal Research Station for Plant Production of Changins, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland; and third author: Monash University, Frankston, Victoria 3199, Australia

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Accepted for publication 24 October 2002.

Inflorescences of field-grown grapevines (Vitis vinifera L. cv. Gamay) were inoculated with a Botrytis cinerea conidia suspension or dried conidia at different stages during bloom in moist weather. Approximately 10% of the conidia germinated within 72 h, resulting in two to three times more latent infections than uninoculated controls in pea-size (7 mm in diameter) berries. In surface-sterilized pea-size berries, latent B. cinerea was present predominantly in the receptacle area. After veraison, latent B. cinerea also was found in the style and, in mature berries, latent colonies were distributed throughout the pulp. Inoculation at full bloom led to the highest disease severity (66%) at harvest, compared with 38% in controls. Stilbene stress metabolites in the flowers were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. Resveratrol accumulated mainly after pre-bloom and full-bloom inoculation, but did not prevent infection. Piceid levels did not change following inoculation, while ε-viniferin was found in necrotic tissues only, and pterostilbene and αviniferin were not detected at all. B. cinerea conidia suspensions also were applied to various locations on flowers of pot-grown cvs. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Inoculation of the receptacle area, but not that of the stigma and ovary, resulted in latent infections. Stilbene synthesis was similar to the field results, with resveratrol accumulating mainly in the calyptra and receptacle area. Constitutive soluble phenolic compounds (mainly derivatives of quercetin and hydroxy-cinnamic acid) were present at high concentrations in the calyptra but at low levels in the receptacle area. These experiments confirmed bloom as a critical time for B. cinerea infection in grapes and suggest that the most likely site of infection is the receptacle area or cap scar exposed at anthesis. Stilbenes may have a limited role in inhibition of flower infection and latency in susceptible grape cultivars, and ε-viniferin may be a by-product rather than a deterrent of infection.

Additional keywords: flower infection, piceid, resveratrol, stilbene, viniferin, Vitis vinifera.

© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society