Chemical manipulation of Leptosphaeria maculans (blackleg disease) pseudothecial development and timing of ascospore discharge from canola (Brassica napus) residues

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    A study was carried out to establish key developmental stages of Leptosphaeria maculans on canola residues leading up to ascospore discharge and how these stages could be affected by chemicals. The residues were dipped in a range of chemicals, including fungicides, herbicides, and surfactants, to determine possible manipulative effects of the chemicals on the development of the fungus including ascospore discharge. Treated residues were placed in the field during the growing season. Ascospore discharge was found to be closely related to pseudothecial maturity and density. There was no significant difference between pseudothecial maturation on the crown component compared with the stem component. A high correlation between rainfall and pseudothecial density suggested that rainfall was a good complimentary indicator for timing of ascospore discharge. These results may provide the canola industry with a potential method of monitoring pseudothecial development for estimating disease hazards. This would allow manipulation of sowing times so as to minimise or avoid heavy ascospore showers coinciding with the early seedling phase. Twenty chemical treatments showed significant efficacy in decreasing ascospore numbers early in the season, most often by delaying the development of the pseudothecia on the residues. Two scenarios were formulated giving growers the potential to manipulate pseudothecial development and/or ascospore discharge. Firstly, a number of chemicals, such as fluquinconazole, technical grade flutriafol, and gluphosinate-ammonium, were able to delay pseudothecial development and subsequent ascospore discharge was decreased by 100%, 99%, and 96%, respectively. This scenario gives growers the potential to minimise synchronisation of ascospore discharge with early crop establishment. Secondly, a situation where pseudothecial development is not delayed, but number of ascospores discharged is reduced (e.g. ziram by 45%) would only be effective if the reduction resulted in a less severe disease epidemic. There is significant potential for development of commercial chemical treatments of residues to reduce disease pressure on seedlings.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)837-848
    Journal Australian Journal of Agricultural Research
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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