The effect of winter weather conditions on the ability of pseudothecia of Leptosphaeria maculans and L. biglobosa to release ascospores
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Leptosphaeria maculans and L. biglobosa are damaging pathogens of oilseed rape. The infection of plants occurs predominantly in early autumn or spring by spores produced in pseudothecia. The aim of this study was to investigate whether pseudothecia formed in the autumn are still viable in the spring and to what extend they are destroyed by winter frosts. The studies presented here demonstrated that winter frosts can render pseudothecia unable to release spores. Nevertheless, ascospores present in pseudothecia unable to discharge ascospores, were fully capable of germination, regardless of the incubation temperature. No significant differences were found between the studied Leptosphaeria species in their response to frost. A multiple regression equation has been elaborated to forecast the ability of pseudothecia to release ascospores, based on winter temperatures. Considerable correlation was found between the ascospore release in the autumn and the ability of pseudothecia to release ascospores over the winter period and the subsequent symptoms of stem canker before harvest. We have demonstrated that the potential and the survival of inoculum can have a large impact on the success of the pathogen. This may be particularly important in the light of forecasted climate change. Higher winter temperatures may increase the ability of pseudothecia to release ascospores and the discharge of ascospores of L. maculans and L. biglobosa into the air, and cause early plant infections. This in turn will increase the number of infected plants, the disease incidence at harvest, and reduce the yield of oilseed rape.
KeywordsAbility to release ascospores Ascospore Disease incidence Frost damage Pseudothecium Stem canker
The studies were performed with the financial support of DuPont Poland. We thank to Dr Samantha Cook from Rothamsted Research, UK for careful revision of the manuscript. Research were partially funded by project LIDER/19/113/L-1/09/NCBiR/2010.
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