Biological Invasions

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 273–282 | Cite as

Epidemiology and Management of a Periodically Introduced Pathogen

  • James A. LaMondia
  • Donald E. Aylor


Periodically introduced plant pathogens, which are characterized by multiyear epidemics followed by multiyear absences, offer a number of unique challenges to disease management. Peronospora tabacina, the causal agent of tobacco blue mold, is periodically re-introduced into the northern tobacco growing areas of North America, and offers a model system to illustrate these challenges. Blue mold is very damaging, particularly to the wrapper tobacco types grown in Connecticut and Massachusetts which have little tolerance for disease, as even a limited number of leaf blemishes severely reduces their marketability. From its first introduction into Connecticut in 1937, the pathogen has exhibited a pattern of multiyear epidemics after which it disappears for a number of years. This cycle occurred three times in Connecticut between 1937 and 2001. The last two appearances of blue mold have been associated either with a change in the pathogen's tolerance of high temperatures or with resistance to a fungicide. The lessons learned from blue mold could be extended to other periodically introduced pathogens. Cooperative research, education efforts, and inter-regional contacts need to be maintained to monitor for potential changes in a pathogen's biology and epidemiology that might affect disease management. Epidemiological studies to determine the probability of different means of pathogen dispersal, forecasts of relative risk of exposure, and the development of tactics to reduce the probability of successful introduction should all help to extend pathogen-free periods and reduce crop losses due to disease.

blue mold disease resistance epidemiology fungicide resistance long-distance dispersal Nicotiana tabacum Oomycete tobacco 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Pathology and EcologyThe Connecticut Agricultural Experiment StationWindsorUSA; Author for correspondence (e-mail

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