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Risk Assessment Methods for the Ringspot Pathogen Mycosphaerella brassicicola in Vegetable Brassica Crops

July 2010 , Volume 94 , Number  7
Pages  851 - 859

Alison J. Wakeham and Roy Kennedy, Warwick HRI, University of Warwick, Wellesbourne, Warwick, Warwickshire CV35 9EF, UK

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Accepted for publication 29 March 2010.

Mycosphaerella brassicicola causes ringspot on Brussels sprouts, which can result in substantial yield loss in commercial production. Brussels sprout buttons are downgraded if this pathogen occurs on them. In this study, the effect of temperature and wetness duration was investigated on infection of Brussels sprouts using controlled environments (CE). The effect of temperature and wetness duration on inoculum production and ascospore discharge was also investigated. Infection by M. brassicicola was described using a mathematical model and was compared to estimates of ascospore availability obtained via a volumetric air sampler and immunofluorescence (IF). Infection of M. brassicicola was correlated (r = 0.92) with temperature during leaf wetness periods. The relationship between temperature and time to discharge of 5 and 50% of the cumulative total number of ascospores from ringspot lesions was r = 0.99 and 0.98, respectively (P < 0.001). In field experiments, an optimal wind run (the product of the average wind speed and the period over which that average speed was measured) of 250 to 500 km day-1 was required for the dissemination of ringspot inoculum to field bait plants. Quantification of M. brassicicola inoculum in collected field aerosols was possible using a monoclonal antibody in a plate-trapped antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Precoating of the air sampler wells with sodium azide prevented trapped spores from germinating. Ringspot inoculum could be detected and quantified in air samples from commercial crops of Brussels sprouts in the United Kingdom. Low levels of ringspot inoculum measured within crops did not lead to disease development.

© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society