Rutgers University, Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center, 121 Northville Road, Bridgeton, NJ 08302-5919.
The production of conidia by Fusicladium carpophilum on twig lesions was quantitatively modeled as a function of temperature and duration of high relative humidity. During peak sporulation periods in 2007, 2008, and 2009, 1-year-old twigs bearing abundant overwintering lesions were removed from a heavily infected ‘Redgold’ nectarine orchard, placed in trays at high relative humidity (>95%), and incubated at eight constant temperatures for seven durations, resulting in a factorial design of 56 treatment combinations. Conidia numbers were estimated with a hemacytometer. Results from a six-stage modeling process indicated that, at any given temperature, spore production during high relative humidity periods increased in a monomolecular- to Gompertz-like pattern. The Richards model, with shape parameters of 0.79 to 0.90, was found to provide the best overall fit. When the asymptote and rate parameters were derived as functions of temperature using Gaussian and quadratic models, respectively, the duration of high relative humidity and temperature described 90 to 94% of the variation in conidia production. Predictions of the final models were highly correlated with observed levels of sporulation (r > 0.94; P < 0.0001), indicating an excellent fit to the data. The optimum temperature for sporulation, based on fitting a Gaussian model to the maximum sporulation levels at each temperature, was 17.9 to 20.2°C, with an overall average of 18.8°C. The derived models give a quantitative description of sporulation by F. carpophilum and may have potential use in simulators and forecasting systems.