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Comparative sampling and detection of airborne ascospores of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum for forecasting risk of Sclerotinia rot of carrot, and assessment of induced resistance for disease management

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Title: Comparative sampling and detection of airborne ascospores of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum for forecasting risk of Sclerotinia rot of carrot, and assessment of induced resistance for disease management
Author: Parker, Monica L.
Department: Department of Plant Agriculture
Program: Plant Agriculture
Advisor: McDonald, Mary RuthBoland, Greg J.
Abstract: This thesis is an investigation of detecting and quantifying airborne inoculum of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary to improve the Sclerotinia rot of carrot (SRC) forecast model. A quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay was developed to specifically detect and quantify DNA from airborne ascospores of S. sclerotiorum. The qPCR assay was evaluated on air samples collected using a Burkard Sampler, and showed that ascospores of S. sclerotiorum were specifically detected among a pool of foreign DNA. The concentration of detected ascospores was related to the observed incidence of SRC to suggest a preliminary threshold of 2 to 4 ascospores m-3 of air for SRC development. Evaluation of an Andersen Sampler, the blue plate test (BPT) and the qPCR assay showed that the latter two methods were equally effective in detecting and quantifying ascospores of S. sclerotiorum and consistently detected greater numbers of ascospores than an Andersen Sampler. Three days are required to confirm the presence of S. sclerotiorum using the BPT, while results from the qPCR assay can potentially provide results within five hours of air sampling. The choice of detection method depends on the available resources and need for a quick result. Analysis of data from nine years of air sampling using the BPT indicated that a single air sampling site is sufficient to detect ascospores when counts are low, increasing to two sites during periods when ascospores are detected near threshold levels and crop and environmental conditions are conducive to disease. Chitosan and canopy trimming were evaluated to manage SRC under field conditions. Chitosan reduced area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) by 55 and 42% in 2009 and 2011, respectively, which was comparable to a standard fungicide. Trimming enhanced chitosan efficacy, reducing AUDPC by 88 and 82% in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Trimming as a stand-alone treatment reduced AUDPC by 66% in 2011. Under controlled environmental conditions, chitosan inconsistently enhanced defense responses against S. sclerotinia. The results show that chitosan has potential to be integrated into SRC management systems, particularly when combined with foliar trimming in years with moderate to high disease risk.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/3925
Date: 2012-08


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