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Seasonal Development of Ontogenic Resistance to Downy Mildew in Grape Berries and Rachises

December 2005 , Volume 95 , Number  12
Pages  1,445 - 1,452

Megan M. Kennelly , David M. Gadoury , Wayne F. Wilcox , Peter A. Magarey , and Robert C. Seem

First, second, third, and fifth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva 14456; and fourth author: South Australian Research and Development Institute, Loxton, South Australia 5333

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Accepted for publication 26 August 2005.

Clusters of Vitis vinifera and V. labrusca are reported to become resistant to Plasmopara viticola at stages of development ranging from 1 to 6 weeks postbloom. It has been suggested that resistance is associated with loss of the infection court as stomata are converted to lenticels, but the time of onset, cultivar variation, and seasonal variation in ontogenic resistance has remained uncertain, as has the comparative susceptibility of stem tissue within the fruit cluster. In New York, we inoculated clusters of V. vinifera cvs. Chardonnay and Riesling and V. labrusca cvs. Concord and Niagara at stages from prebloom until 5 to 6 weeks postbloom. Berries were infected and supported profuse sporulation until 2 weeks postbloom, and pedicel tissue remained susceptible until 4 weeks postbloom. Although berries on later-inoculated clusters failed to support sporulation, discoloration and necrosis of berry tissues was often noted, and necrosis of the pedicel within such clusters often led to further discoloration, shriveling, reduced size, or loss of berries. When the epidermis of discolored berries that initially failed to support sporulation was cut, the pathogen emerged and sporulated through incisions, indicating that lack of sporulation on older symptomatic berries was due to infection at an early stage of berry development followed by conversion of functional stomata to lenticels during latency. We repeated the study on Chardonnay and Riesling vines in South Australia and found that the period of berry and rachis susceptibility was greatly increased. The protracted susceptibility of the host was related to the increased duration and phenological heterogeneity of bloom and berry development in the warmer climate of South Australia. The time of onset and subsequent expression of ontogenic resistance to P. viticola may thus be modified by climate and should be weighed in transposing results from one climatic area to another. Our results can be used to refine forecast models for grapevine downy mildew to account for changes in berry and rachis susceptibility, and to focus fungicide application schedules upon the most critical periods for protection of fruit.

Additional keywords: adult plant resistance , disease management .

© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society