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Relationship Between Apple Fruit Epicuticular Wax and Growth of Peltaster fructicola and Leptodontidium elatius, Two Fungi that Cause Sooty Blotch Disease

July 2000 , Volume 84 , Number  7
Pages  767 - 772

Robert D. Belding , Former Graduate Student, Department of Horticultural Science ; Turner B. Sutton , Department of Plant Pathology ; and Sylvia M. Blankenship and Eric Young , Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609

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Accepted for publication 21 March 2000.

Sooty blotch severity varied among apple cultivars or selections surveyed in 1989 and 1992. No mycelial growth was observed on russetted areas of the cuticle that are considered impermeable. Ursolic acid and n-alkanes were the most prominent components of the epicuticular waxes of the cultivars or selections evaluated. Although there were differences in the relative proportions of these compounds among the cultivars, the differences were not related to the severity of sooty blotch. Peltaster fructicola and Leptodontidium elatius were grown on compounds that comprise the epicuticular wax of the fruit to determine if one or more of these were needed for growth. The fungi did not grow on any of the five major components of the epicuticular wax unless dilute apple juice was included. Scanning electron microscopy studies showed that mycelia of P. fructicola grew on the surface of the wax and did not appear to degrade it. Our studies support the hypothesis that P. fructicola and L. elatius fungi are epiphytes and obtain their nutrients not from components of the cuticle, but more likely from fruit leachates.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society