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Effect of Temperature and Postharvest Field Burning of Kentucky Bluegrass on Germination of Sclerotia of Claviceps purpurea. W. J. Johnston, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-6420. C. T. Golob, and J. W. Sitton, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-6420; and T. R. Schultz, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, 2525 Merryfield St., Friday Harbor 99250. Plant Dis. 80:766-768. Accepted for publication 3 April 1996. Copyright 1996 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/PD-80-0766.

Sclerotia of Claviceps purpurea were collected from Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) seed fields and exposed to various temperature regimes in a kiln. Sclerotia lost their ability to germinate when exposed to 200C for 116 s, 300C for 48 s, or 400C for 15 s. Exposures of 240 s at 100 and 50C produced only a slight reduction in germination compared to controls. The effect of temperatures produced by open-field and machine burning of residues also was determined. Peak soil-surface temperatures produced by open-field burning of Kentucky bluegrass postharvest residue were 120C in 1990 and 240C in 1991 at Rockford, WA. An experimental machine burner produced soil-surface temperatures of 280C in 1990 and 320C in 1991. Temperatures at 1 and 3 cm below the soil surface did not significantly change with any field treatment. Machine and open-field burning, compared to the nonburn control, significantly lowered (1990) or eliminated (1991) germination of sclerotia on the soil surface. None of the treatments significantly altered germination of sclerotia buried at 1 and 3 cm. These results indicate that the higher the temperature from burning residue, the greater the reduction in sclerotial viability.

Keyword(s): ergot