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Effects of Soil Temperature, Moisture, and Depth on Survival and Activity of Sclerotinia minor, Sclerotium cepivorum, and Sporidesmium sclerotivorum. P. B. Adams, Research Plant Pathologist, Soilborne Diseases Laboratory, Plant Protection Institute, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD 20705. Plant Dis. 71:170-174. Accepted for publication 23 September 1986. This article is in the public domain and not copyrightable. It may be freely reprinted with customary crediting of the source. The American Phytopathological Society, 1987. DOI: 10.1094/PD-71-0170.

High soil temperature and low soil moisture reduced survival and activity of sclerotia of Sclerotium cepivorum and Sclerotinia minor and macroconidia of Sporidesmium sclerotivorum. Fifty percent or more of the propagules of the three fungi in the soil were killed within 39 hr at 40 C, 6 hr at 45 C, or 2 hr at 50 C. When soil containing the propagules of these fungi was dried to a moisture level of 1,516 bars or lower for 7 days and remoistened to 0.2 bar, survival of the sclerotia and the viability of the macroconidia declined over a period of 6 wk. In the field, numbers of sclerotia of S. minor at the soil surface and at depths of 02 cm declined during the summer months, whereas numbers of sclerotia at depths of 28 and 814 cm increased slightly and then remained constant. Decline in numbers of sclerotia on the soil surface and at depths of 02 cm was assumed to be due to low soil moisture levels during the summer months. Apothecial initials (stipes) were formed on sclerotia during April through June at low levels (16%) at all soil depths. Natural infection of sclerotia of S. minor by Sporidesmium sclerotivorum in the field occurred irregularly and at low levels at the soil surface and at 02 cm. Infection of sclerotia was consistent and high at 28 and 814 cm. The implications of these findings for control of Allium white rot and lettuce drop are discussed.