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Phytopathology. 2012 Sep;102(9):857-66. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-07-11-0205.

Effects of sunlight exposure on grapevine powdery mildew development.

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Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva.


Natural and artificially induced shade increased grapevine powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) severity in the vineyard, with foliar disease severity 49 to 75% higher relative to leaves in full sun, depending on the level of natural shading experienced and the individual experiment. Cluster disease severities increased by 20 to 40% relative to those on check vines when ultraviolet (UV) radiation was filtered from sunlight reaching vines in artificial shading experiments. Surface temperatures of leaves in full sunlight averaged 5 to 8°C higher than those in natural shade, and in one experiment, filtering 80% of all wavelengths of solar radiation, including longer wavelengths responsible for heating irradiated tissues, increased disease more than filtering UV alone. In controlled environment experiments, UV-B radiation reduced germination of E. necator conidia and inhibited both colony establishment (hyphal formation and elongation) and maturity (latent period). Inhibitory effects of UV-B radiation were significantly greater at 30°C than at 20 or 25°C. Thus, sunlight appears to inhibit powdery mildew development through at least two mechanisms, i.e., (i) UV radiation's damaging effects on exposed conidia and thalli of the pathogen; and (ii) elevating temperatures of irradiated tissues to a level supraoptimal or inhibitory for pathogen development. Furthermore, these effects are synergistic at temperatures near the upper threshold for disease development.

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