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Colonization of Citrus Roots by Phytophthora ciirophthora and P. parasiticain Daily Soil Temperature Fluctuations Between Favorable and Inhibitory Levels. M. E. Matheron, Extension Plant Pathologist, University of Arizona, Yuma Agricultural Center, Yuma 85364. M. Porchas, Research Specialist, University of Arizona, Yuma Agricultural Center, Yuma 85364. Plant Dis. 80:1135-1140. Accepted for publication 24 June 1996. Copyright 1996 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/PD-80-1135.

Studies compared colonization of citrus rootlets by Phytophthora ciirophthora or P. parasitica under constant favorable or inhibitory temperatures to root colonization under various daily combinations of favorable and inhibitory temperatures. Colonization of rough lemon rootlets after incubation for 96 h in the presence of soil naturally infested with P. ciirophthora was detected at 9 through 27C; however, the extent of colonization detected at 27C was significantly lower than that observed at the other temperatures. In comparison, colonization of rootlets in (he presence of soil naturally infested with P. parasitica was detected at constant incubation temperatures ranging from 12 to 33C; however, the extent of colonization al 33C was significantly lower than that observed at the other temperatures. Critical threshold temperatures, defined as thermal values at or above which colonization of rootlets was significantly restricted or prevented, were 27C for P. ciirophthora and 33C for P. parasitica. After four consecutive 24-h periods, the magnitude of rootlet colonization by both pathogens was significantly less under incubation that included a daily time of at least 2.5 h at or above the threshold temperature when compared to rootlet colonization for 96 h at a constant favorable temperature. Significantly fewer sporangia were produced by P. ciirophthora or P. parasitica at 24 h than after 48 and 72 h. The extent of root infection caused by P. ciirophthora and P. parasitica at 24 or 30C, respectively, was significantly lower at incubation periods of 4, 8, and 16 h than at periods of 24, 48, and 72 h. A fivefold increase in duration of zoospore motility was observed for P. ciirophthora at 24C than at 30C, temperatures that respectively favor and prevent rootlet colonization; while an 11-fold increase was detected for zoospores of P. parasitica at favorable compared to inhibitory temperatures of 30 and 36C, respectively. Temperature periods partially as well as entirely at or above the critical threshold values may reduce the degree of citrus rootlet colonization by P. ciirophthora and P. parasitica by retarding the rate of sporangium formation and zoospore production and the duration of zoospore motility, compared to periods of equal duralion that are entirely favorable for rootlet colonization. More efficient use of fungicides for control of Phytophthora root rot of citrus could be possible by application only when soil temperatures favor disease development.