Link to home

Effects of Sunlight Exposure on Grapevine Powdery Mildew Development

September 2012 , Volume 102 , Number  9
Pages  857 - 866

Craig N. Austin and Wayne F. Wilcox

Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva 14456.

Go to article:
Accepted for publication 4 May 2012.

Natural and artificially induced shade increased grapevine powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) severity in the vineyard, with foliar disease severity 49 to 75% higher relative to leaves in full sun, depending on the level of natural shading experienced and the individual experiment. Cluster disease severities increased by 20 to 40% relative to those on check vines when ultraviolet (UV) radiation was filtered from sunlight reaching vines in artificial shading experiments. Surface temperatures of leaves in full sunlight averaged 5 to 8°C higher than those in natural shade, and in one experiment, filtering 80% of all wavelengths of solar radiation, including longer wavelengths responsible for heating irradiated tissues, increased disease more than filtering UV alone. In controlled environment experiments, UV-B radiation reduced germination of E. necator conidia and inhibited both colony establishment (hyphal formation and elongation) and maturity (latent period). Inhibitory effects of UV-B radiation were significantly greater at 30°C than at 20 or 25°C. Thus, sunlight appears to inhibit powdery mildew development through at least two mechanisms, i.e., (i) UV radiation's damaging effects on exposed conidia and thalli of the pathogen; and (ii) elevating temperatures of irradiated tissues to a level supraoptimal or inhibitory for pathogen development. Furthermore, these effects are synergistic at temperatures near the upper threshold for disease development.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society