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Effect of Microclimate on Leveillula taurica Powdery Mildew of Sweet Pepper

July 2007 , Volume 97 , Number  7
Pages  813 - 824

Yigal Elad , Yoel Messika , Michal Brand , Dalia Rav David , and Abraham Sztejnberg

First, second, third, and fourth authors: Department of Plant Pathology and Weed Research, ARO, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel; and second, third, and fifth authors: Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 76100, Israel.

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Accepted for publication 21 December 2006.

Sweet pepper-Leveillula taurica microclimate relations were studied under controlled conditions and in commercial greenhouses. Conidial germination occurred at 10 to 37°C and was optimal at 20°C. Conidial viability declined as temperatures increased to 40°C for 6 h. Leaf colonization was optimal at 15 to 25°C. Severe leaf infections occurred at 15 to 20°C and conidiation was suppressed at 20 to 25°C. Highest germination rates were observed at 75 to 85% relative humidity (RH). Severity of leaf coverage by symptoms was high for plants which were subjected to longer periods of temperatures between 10 to 15°C and daytime RH between 85 to 95%, and positively correlated with nighttime RH. Disease severity was negatively correlated with lengthy periods of temperatures >25°C, day and night average temperatures, and average daytime RH. Conversely, leaf shedding was relatively high under conditions characterized by long periods of temperatures >20°C and <13°C, and positively correlated with average daytime temperatures and periods of RH <75%. Increasing nighttime temperatures by heating and daytime temperatures by closing the greenhouse side walls reduced disease in two commercial greenhouse experiments. A midseason shift from a cooler greenhouse climate to warm daytime climate halted epidemic development. Flower number and yield were reduced in infected crops.

Additional keywords: biomass, germ tube.

© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society