Gunn Mari Strømeng, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science, and Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, Plant Health and Plant Protection Division;
Linda Gordon Hjeljord, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science; and
Arne Stensvand, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, Plant Health and Plant Protection Division, N-1432 Ås, Norway
To identify the most important sources of inoculum of Botrytis cinerea (causal agent of gray mold) in commercial strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) fields in Norway, soil and overwintered plant material were collected from planting beds and alleys at five locations in 2000 to 2002 (13 samples altogether). Plant material was sorted by category (e.g., leaves, stems, mulch, and weeds). After subsamples of each material were incubated for 5 days at 20°C at high humidity, conidiophores of B. cinerea growing from mycelia and sclerotia were counted. Overwintered plant debris within planting beds yielded more than 96% of total conidiophores counted, the remainder originating from plant debris collected from alleys or soil. Overwintered strawberry plant debris produced 98% of the conidiophores within planting beds and 80% of the conidiophores in the alleys, while the remaining was produced by weeds. Senescing and dead leaf laminae produced 45% of the conidiophores while stem residues (i.e., petioles, stolons, inflorescences, and unidentifiable stem parts) produced 50% and mummified fruit produced 5% within planting beds. The contribution of sclerotia, compared with mycelia, to conidiophore production varied greatly between fields and years. Overall, 47% of the total number of conidiophores produced in plant material within planting beds originated from sclerotia. More than 90% of the conidiophores from sclerotia were found in dead stem residues.