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Susceptibility of Rabbiteye Blueberry Cultivars to Postharvest Diseases. Barbara J. Smith, Research Plant Pathologist, USDA-ARS Small Fruit Research Station, P.O. Box 287, Poplarville, MS 39470. J. B. Magee, Research Horticulturist, and C. L. Gupton, Research Geneticist, USDA-ARS Small Fruit Research Station, P.O. Box 287, Poplarville, MS 39470. Plant Dis. 80:215-218. Accepted for publication 14 November 1995. This article is In the public domain and not copy-rightable. It may be freely reprinted with customary crediting of the source. The American Phytopathological Society, 1996. DOI: 10.1094/PD-80-0215.

Thirteen rabbiteye cultivars were surveyed Tor postharvest berry rots during the 1992, 1993, and 1994 harvest seasons. Disease incidence and severity were low, with <30% of berries displaying decay symptoms after 5 days incubation at 25C with 100% relative humidity (RH). Although Botrytis fruit rot and ripe rot were equally severe in 1992, ripe rot was the most common postharvest disease in 1993 and 1994. Menditoo, Homebell, Beckyblue, and Premier blueberries had more than 40% rotted fruit, while Briteblue, Southland, and Tifblue had less than 16%. The pathogen associated with ripe rot was identified as Colletotrichum acutatum rather than the more commonly reported pathogen, C. gloeosporioides. When ripe berries from all 13 cultivars were inoculated with a conidial suspension of C. acutatum and incubated for 5 days at 25C and 100% RH, all were infected with ripe rot. Tifblue, Delite, Premier, and Men-ditoo scored the highest for ripe rot, while Southland, Centurion, Woodard, Bluebell, and Homebell scored the lowest. Generally, inoculated berries from late-season harvests scored higher for ripe rot than did berries from earlier harvests. Two of the cultivars most susceptible to ripe rot, Tifblue and Premier, account for most of the rabbiteye blueberry production in the southeastern United States.