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Conditions for Development of Powdery Mildew of Tomato Caused by Oidium neolycopersici

March 2008 , Volume 98 , Number  3
Pages  270 - 281

D. Jacob, D. Rav David, A. Sztjenberg, and Y. Elad

First, second, and fourth authors: Department of Plant Pathology and Weed Research, ARO, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel; and first and third 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 3 November 2007.

Oidium neolycopersici causes severe powdery mildew on all aerial parts of tomato, excluding the fruit. The objective of the present work was to examine factors that influence the development of O. neolycopersici on tomato and to identify potential methods for managing tomato powdery mildew. Under controlled conditions, the highest rates of conidial germination were observed at 25°C, 99% relative humidity (RH) and minimal light, and the lowest on leaves adjacent to fruits. Optimal conditions for appressoria formation were 25°C, RH ranging from 33 to 99%, and 1,750 lux light intensity. More conidia were formed at 20°C, 70 to 85% RH, and 5,150 lux light intensity than at 16 and 26°C, 99% RH, and 480 to 1,750 lux, respectively. Conidia survived and remained capable of germination for over four months when initially incubated at lower temperatures and higher RH, as compared with their fast decline under more extreme summer shade conditions. In growth chamber experiments, disease did not develop at 28°C. Within the range of 70 to 99% RH, disease was less severe under the higher RH than the drier conditions. Disease was also less severe at lower light intensities. Data collected in three commercial-like greenhouse experiments involving various climate regimes were used to draw correlations regarding the effects of temperature and RH on the development of epidemics. Severity of powdery mildew was positively correlated with the duration of the range 15 to 25°C, 1 to 4 weeks before disease evaluation (BDE), RH levels of 60 to 90% at 2 to 4 weeks BDE, and RH of 50 to 60% during the week BDE. Conversely, disease was negatively correlated with the duration of temperatures in the low and high ranges (5 to 15°C and 35 to 40°C) at 1 to 4 weeks BDE, with the duration of RH levels of 40% and below at 1 to 4 weeks BDE, and with 50 to 60% RH during the third week BDE. High (90 to 100%) RH was also negatively correlated with disease severity. These results suggest that the combination of high temperatures and low RH may help reduce O. neolycopersici powdery mildew severity in greenhouse tomatoes.

Additional keywords:Lycopersicum esculentum.

© 2008 The American Phytopathological Society