Responses of Venturia inaequalis to sanitation and regional climate differences in South Africa

Von Diest, Saskia Gudrun (2014-04)

Thesis (PhD(Agric))--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The apple industry in South Africa currently relies entirely on chemical fungicides to control apple scab, caused by Venturia inaequalis. In this dissertation, alterative management strategies against V. inaequalis were tested for the first time in South Africa. New information on the behaviour of the sexual winter phase of V. inaequalis in different climatic conditions was found and sources of asexual inoculum overwintering in apple orchards were identified. The effect of leaf shredding on fruit and leaf scab incidence and severity was tested against a non-shredded, non-sprayed negative control, a positive control that followed a commercial fungicide programme and a combined treatment of a commercial fungicide programme with leaf shredding, from 2010 to 2013. Reductions in fruit and leaf scab incidence and severity in the leaf shredding treatment were significantly lower compared to the negative control. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) of airborne ascospores trapped using volumetric spore traps was used to measure the reduction in airborne ascospores in the shredded plots, and confirmed the efficacy of shredding found by comparing scab incidence and severity on fruit and leaves. Shredding twice during leaf-drop increased the efficacy of the treatment. Results indicate that leaf shredding should be integrated into scab management strategies in future. However, practical considerations unique to South African orchards, e.g. timing of leaf shredding relative to leaf-drop and orchard layouts, need to be addressed. Pseudothecial densities (PD, number of pseudothecia per fertile lesion) and ascal densities (AD, number of asci per pseudothecium) were compared between in Koue Bokkeveld (KB), a cold winter region, and Elgin (EL), a warm winter region experiencing climate warming, in 2012 and 2013. Scabbed leaves were detached during leaf-drop and overwintered in their region of origin and in the other region. The PD in leaves collected in KB and overwintered in KB was significantly higher than for leaves collected in EL and overwintered in EL, and leaves collected in KB and overwintered in EL. These results agreed with what was expected, as temperature during pseudothecial formation (i.e. the first four weeks after leaf-drop) was significantly lower in KB than in EL. However, the PD for leaves collected in EL and overwintered in EL did not differ significantly from EL leaves overwintered in KB. AD values in all treatments did not differ significantly from one another. Results suggest that factors other than temperature may be involved in controlling PD, e.g. the EL population may include strains not present in the KB population, with higher optimal temperatures for pseudothecial formation. Apple buds and pygmy apples were collected and tested for presence, number and viability of conidia in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Pygmy apples are small, late season fruit that remain attached to the tree throughout winter, especially in regions with warmer winters where trees do not experience sufficient chilling to complete dormancy. High conidial numbers were found on outer bud tissue and low numbers on inner bud tissue, but viable conidia were only found on inner bud tissue, using microscopy, and generally in orchards with high scab levels in the previous season. Molecular methods using PCR-RFLP and qPCR confirmed the presence of high amounts of V. inaequalis DNA in outer bud tissues, although calculated conidial amounts were higher than data obtained when using microscopy, which could indicate presence of mycelia not detected during microscopic examination. Higher numbers of conidia with higher percentage viability were found on pygmy apples, which are a more likely source of asexual inoculum in South African apple orchards than the low number of viable conidia on inner bud tissue.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse appelbedryf is tans afhanklik van chemiese swamdoders vir die beheer van die appelskurf patogeen, Venturia inaequalis. In hierdie proefskrif is alternatiewe bestuurstrategiëe vir die eerste keer in Suid-Afrika ondersoek. Nuwe inligting te opsigte van die gedrag van die geslagtelike winterfase van V. inaequalis, is onder verskillende klimaatstoestande ingewin en bronne van die oorwinterende ongeslagtelike inokulum in appelboorde, is identifiseer. Die invloed van blaarversnippering op die voorkoms en erns van appelskurf op vrugte en blare, is vanaf 2010 tot 2013 ondersoek en met ʼn negatiewe kontrole (onversnipperde blare sonder spuitprogram), ʼn positiewe kontrole (ʼn kommersiële swamdoderspuitprogram is gevolg) en gekombineerde behandelings (kommersiële swamdoderspuitprogram en blaarversnippering) vergelyk. Daar was ʼn betekenisvolle verskil in die voorkoms en erns van skurf op vrugte en blare met blaarversnippering teenoor die negatiewe kontrole. Kwantitatiewe intydse polimerase kettingvermeerderingsreaksie (kPKR) van luggedraagde askospore, vasgevang in volumetriese lokvalle, is gebruik om die afname van luggedraagde askospore in versnipperde behandelings te meet. Die doeltreffendheid van versnippering as behandeling, is bevestig deur die voorkoms van appelskurf te vergelyk met die ernstigheidsgraad daarvan op vrugte en blare. Die uitvoer van blaarversnippering twee keer gedurende die blaarvalperiode het die effektiwiteit van hierdie behandeling verhoog. Hiervan kan dus afgelei word dat blaarversnippering voordelig sal wees vir die bestuur van appelskurf en in toekomstige bestuurspraktyke ingesluit moet word. Praktiese oorwegings, uniek aan Suid-Afrikaanse boorde, soos boorduitleg en die tydsberekening van blaarversnippering teenoor blaarval, moet egter in ag geneem word. Pseudothesiale digtheid (PD; die aantal pseudothesia per vrugbare letsel) en askale digtheid (AD; die aantal aski per pseudothesium) is gedurende 2012 en 2013 vir die Koue Bokkeveld (KB), 'n koue winterstreek, en warm winterstreek Elgin (EL), 'n winterstreek wat klimaatsverwarming ervaar, vergelyk. Blare, met skurf, is gedurende blaarval gepluk en oorwinter in hul gebied van oorsprong, asook in die ander klimaatstreek. Blare wat in KB versamel is en in KB oorwinter het, se PD was aansienlik hoër as dié wat in EL versamel is en in EL oorwinter het, sowel as dié wat in KB versamel is en in EL oorwinter het. Hierdie resultate stem ooreen met wat verwag is, om rede die temperatuur gedurende pseudothesiale vorming, d.w.s. die eerste vier weke na blaarval, aansienlik laer in KB as in EL was. Die PD van blare wat in EL versamel en daar oorwinter het, het egter nie betekenisvol verskil van blare wat in KB oorwinter het nie. Die AD-waardes tussen behandelings verskil nie noemenswaardig nie en word as onbeduidend beskou. Die verkrygde resultate dui aan dat daar ander faktore as temperatuur betrokke is by die beheer van PD, bv. die EL-skurfpopulasie, waar die warmer klimaat meer optimaal is vir pseudothesiale vorming, rasse wat nie in die KB-bevolking teenwoordig is nie, mag insluit. Appelknoppe en dwerg-appels is gedurende 2010, 2011 en 2012 versamel en vir die teenwoordigheid, aantal en lewensvatbaarheid van konidiospore getoets. Dwergappels is klein laatseisoen appeltjies wat reg deur die winter aan die boom bly hang; veral in die streke met warmer winters waar die bome nie die nodige koue ervaar om dormansie te voltooi nie. Met behulp van mikroskopie is ʼn hoë aantal spore op die buitenste knopweefsel en lae getalle in die binneweefsel bespeur; maar lewensvatbare spore is net in die binneweefsel van knoppe waargeneem, wat hoofsaaklik afkomstig is van boorde wat hoë vlakke van appelskurf in die vorige seisoen ervaar het. Molekulêre tegnieke, PKR-RFLP en kPKR, is gebruik vir bepaling van V. inequalis DNA hoeveelhede op die buitenste knopweefsel. Hoër getalle konidiospore is met die molekulêre analise gevind, as dié verkry met mikroskopiese ondersoek en dui op die moontlike teenwoordigheid van miselium wat nie met visuele waarneming sigbaar was nie. Meer konidiospore met 'n hoër vlak van lewensvatbaarheid is op dwerg-apples gevind en dit is moontlik 'n meer waarskynlike bron van ongeslagtelike inokulum in Suid-Afrikaanse appelboorde, as die lae getalle van lewensvatbare konidiospore op die binneweefsel van die appelknoppe.

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