Main content area

Splash dispersal of Leptosphaeria maculans pycnidiospores and the spread of blackleg on oilseed rape

Travadon, R., Bousset, L., Saint-Jean, S., Brun, H., Sache, I.
Plant pathology 2007 v.56 no.4 pp. 595-603
Brassica napus, Plenodomus lingam, air, asexual reproduction, disease transmission, droplets, fungi, generators (equipment), leaf spot, pathogens, population dynamics, pycnidia, rain, rainfall simulation, sexual reproduction, spores, stem cankers, stubble
The fungus Leptosphaeria maculans causes blackleg (phoma stem canker), one of the most serious diseases of oilseed rape. The role of pycnidiospores produced during asexual reproduction is poorly documented and limits the understanding of the pathogen's population dynamics. The objectives of this study were to assess rain-splash dispersal of pycnidiospores of L. maculans from phoma leaf spots, and transmission of the disease from oilseed rape stubble carrying pycnidia. The work was conducted in still air with either a drop generator or a rain simulator. The impact of simulated incident drops on phoma leaf spots resulted in the dispersal of L. maculans pycnidiospores within splash droplets. Ninety per cent of the spores were collected within 14 cm of the source and a few were regularly observed up to 40 cm. Pycnidiospores produced on oilseed rape stubble and dispersed by simulated rain infected oilseed rape trap plants in a spatial pattern that matched the spatial dispersal of the pycnidiospores. In the field, rain-splash dispersal of pycnidiospores could increase the pathogen population and may enhance sexual reproduction by facilitating the mating of initially spatially separated isolates of opposite mating type.