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A Comparison of Methods Used to Estimate the Maturity and Release of Ascospores of Venturia inaequalis

August 2004 , Volume 88 , Number  8
Pages  869 - 874

David M. Gadoury and Robert C. Seem , Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva 14456 ; William E. MacHardy , Department of Plant Biology, University of New Hampshire, Durham 03824 ; Wayne F. Wilcox and David A. Rosenberger , Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva 14456 ; and Arne Stensvand , Department of Plant Pathology, Plant Protection Centre, The Norwegian Crop Research Institute, N-1432 Ås, Norway

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Accepted for publication 12 April 2004.

Maturation and release of ascospores of Venturia inaequalis were assessed at Geneva and Highland, NY, and at Durham, NH, by microscopic examination of crushed pseudothecia excised from infected apple leaves that were collected weekly from orchards (squash mounts) in 14 siteyear combinations. Airborne ascospore dose was monitored at each location in each year of the study by volumetric spore traps. Additional laboratory assessments were made at Geneva to quantify release from infected leaf segments upon wetting (discharge tests). Finally, ascospore maturity was estimated for each location using a degree-day model developed in an earlier study. Ascospore maturation and release determined by squash mounts and discharge tests lagged significantly behind cumulative ascospore release as measured by volumetric spore traps in the field. The mean date of 98% ascospore discharge as determined by squash mounts or discharge tests occurred from 23 to 28 days after the mean date on which 98% cumulative ascospore release had been detected by volumetric traps. In contrast, cumulative ascospore maturity estimated by the degree-day model was highly correlated (r2 = 0.82) with observed cumulative ascospore release as monitored by the volumetric traps. Although large differences between predicted maturity and observed discharge were common during the exponential phase of ascospore development, the date of 98% cumulative ascospore maturity predicted by the model was generally within 1 to 9 calendar days of the date of 98% cumulative ascospore recovery in the volumetric traps. Cumulative ascospore discharge as monitored by the volumetric traps always exceeded 98% at 600 degree days (base = 0°C) after green tip. Estimating the relative quantity of primary inoculum indirectly by means of a degree-day model was more closely aligned with observed ascospore release, as measured by volumetric traps, than actual assessments of ascospore maturity and discharge obtained through squash mounts and discharge tests. The degree-day model, therefore, may be a more accurate predictor of ascospore depletion than squash mounts or discharged tests, and has the added advantage that it can be widely applied to generate site-specific estimates of ascospore maturity for any location where daily temperature data are available.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society