, Volume 125, Issue 2, pp 291-302
Date: 29 Apr 2009

Pre-symptomatic detection of Plasmopara viticola infection in grapevine leaves using chlorophyll fluorescence imaging

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Abstract

Plasmopara viticola is an economically important pathogen of grapevine. Early detection of P. viticola infection can lead to improved fungicide treatment. Our study aimed to determine whether chlorophyll fluorescence (Chl-F) imaging can be used to reveal early stages of P. viticola infection under conditions similar to those occurring in commercial vineyards. Maximum (FV/FM) and effective quantum yield of photosystem II (ΦPSII) were identified as the most sensitive reporters of the infection. Heterogeneous distribution of FV/FM and ΦPSII in artificially inoculated leaves was associated with the presence of the developing mycelium 3 days before the occurrence of visible symptoms and 5 days before the release of spores. Significant changes of FV/FM and ΦPSII were spatially coincident with localised spots of inoculation across the leaf lamina. Reduction of FV/FM was restricted to the leaf area that later yielded sporulation, while the area with significantly lower ΦPSII was larger and probably reflected the leaf parts in which photosynthesis was impaired. Our results indicate that Chl-F can be used for the early detection of P. viticola infection. Because P. viticola does not expand systemically in the host tissues and the effects of infection are localised, Chl-F imaging at high resolution is necessary to reveal the disease in the field.