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Influence of Environmental Conditions on Spore Production and Budding in Taphrina deformans, the Causal Agent of Peach Leaf Curl

March 2007 , Volume 97 , Number  3
Pages  359 - 365

V. Rossi and L. Languasco

Institute of Entomology and Plant Pathology, “S. Cuore” Catholic University, Via E. Parmense 84 29100 Piacenza, Italy

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Accepted for publication 20 September 2006

Environment-controlled studies were carried out to determine the growth of Taphrina deformans under different conditions of temperature, humidity, and nutrient availability similar to those found on plant surfaces during the peach-growing season. Both ascospores and blastospores were able to bud at all temperatures tested (5 to 37°C), with the optimum at 14 and 21°C, respectively. Temperature <20°C favored ascospore production and release, with the optimum at 10°C. Budding was approximately two-and-a-half times higher in a film of water than on a dry substrate, with 100% relative humidity and blastospores also maintained a certain budding ability at lower humidity levels (minimum tested = 47%). Both spore types did not bud after ≈50 to 55 h in the absence of external nutrients. In the presence of a periodically renewed carbon source, such as simple sugars, at concentrations that typically are present on peach plant surfaces, the fungus maintained its budding capability over time. Results showed that T. deformans is able to bud profusely under a wide range of environmental conditions that occur on peach tree surfaces. This work supports the hypothesis that T. deformans is a part of the normal epiphytic mycoflora of peach trees throughout the entire growing season.

Additional keywords: life cycle, Prunus persica, saprophytic growth.

© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society