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Effects of Single-Drop Impactions and Natural and Simulated Rains on the Dispersal of Botryosphaeria dothidea Conidia

November 2004 , Volume 94 , Number  11
Pages  1,189 - 1,197

Neph Ahimera , Simon Gisler , David P. Morgan , and Themis J. Michailides

First, third, and fourth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, University of California-Davis, Parlier 93648; and second author: visiting student, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich, Switzerland

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Accepted for publication 25 June 2004.

Laboratory and field experiments were conducted to study the dispersal of Botryosphaeria dothidea conidia using single-drop impactions and natural and simulated precipitations. For laboratory studies, 200 single drops were released from a height of 1 m on infected pistachio nuts. On pieces of photographic film, 50% of the droplets were collected within 20 mm (average droplet travel distance) of the target area, and the droplets ranged from 0.041 to 3.19 mm in diameter, with an average of 0.3 mm. Each droplet carried an average of 23 B. dothidea conidia. In 3 years of field experiments, rainwater was collected in funnels connected to bottles positioned at different heights inside the tree canopy and at different distances away from the edge of tree canopy in three commercial pistachio orchards in San Joaquin, Yolo, and Glenn counties in California. Numbers of conidia in rainwater varied among and within sampling seasons by sampling dates and orchards. Up to 67,000 conidia/ml were obtained in rainwater samples collected from an orchard in Yolo County. Rainwater from orchards in Yolo and Glenn counties contained a consistently higher number of conidia than rainwater collected from the orchard in San Joaquin County. Variation in numbers of conidia also existed among heights where bottles were located. There were significantly more conidia in rainwater collected inside than outside tree canopies. Inside tree canopies, bottles located at 100 and 150 cm above ground collected more B. dothidea conidia than those placed at 50 and 200 cm. Conidia were collected as far as 1 m from the tree canopy edge. Based on data from the Glenn County orchard, a linear relationship between number of conidia (Y) and rainfall amount (X) in millimeters was determined as Y = 240X - 3,867, with r2 = 0.91, which meant that a minimum of 16.1 mm of rain was needed to disperse conidia of B. dothidea. The power law model best described the dispersal gradients of B. dothidea propagules in the 1999-2000 and 2001-02 sampling seasons, with r2 values of ≥0.73, whereas the exponential law model fit best for the 2000-01 data, with r2 values of ≥0.81. In a rain simulation experiment, the intensity of the rain generated by a nozzle at 138 kPa of pressure inside the tree canopy was approximately five times higher than rain recorded outside the tree canopy. Rain removed up to 65% of conidia from infected fruit. These results confirmed that B. dothidea is a splash-dispersed pathogen with relatively short distances of spore dispersal within pistachio orchards. Only pycnidia are present in pistachio orchards; therefore, the results also indicate that inoculum of B. dothidea should be entirely splashed dispersed.

Additional keywords: panicle and shoot blight, Pistacia vera.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society