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Spatial Patterns of Viable Spore Deposition of Gibberella zeae in Wheat Fields

May 2005 , Volume 95 , Number  5
Pages  472 - 479

David G. Schmale III , Denis A. Shah , and Gary C. Bergstrom

First and third authors: Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853; and second author: Department of Plant Pathology, NYSAES, Geneva, NY 14456

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Accepted for publication 6 January 2005.

An increased understanding of the epidemiology of Gibberella zeae will contribute to a rational and informed approach to the management of Fusarium head blight (FHB). An integral phase of the FHB cycle is the deposition of airborne spores, yet there is no information available on the spatial pattern of spore deposition of G. zeae above wheat canopies. We examined spatial patterns of viable spore deposition of G. zeae over rotational (lacking cereal debris) wheat fields in New York in 2002 and 2004. Viable, airborne spores (ascospores and macroconidia) of G. zeae were collected above wheat spikes on petri plates containing a selective medium and the resulting colonies were counted. Spores of G. zeae were collected over a total of 68 field environments (three wheat fields during 54 day and night sample periods over 2 years) from spike emergence to kernel milk stages of local wheat. Spatial patterns of spore deposition were visualized by contour plots of spore counts over entire fields. The spatial pattern of spore deposition was unique for each field environment during each day and night sample period. Spore deposition patterns during individual sample periods were classified by spatial analysis by distance indices (SADIE) statistics and Mantel tests. Both analyses indicated that the majority (93%) of the spore deposition events were random, with the remainder being aggregated. All of the aggregated patterns were observed during the night. Observed patterns of spore deposition were independent of the mean number of viable spores deposited during individual sample periods. The spatial pattern for cumulative spore deposition during anthesis in both years became aggregated over time. Contour maps of daily and cumulative spore deposition could be compared with contour maps of FHB incidence to gain insights into inoculum thresholds and the timing of effective inoculum for infection.

Additional keyword: Fusarium graminearum .

© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society