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Infection routes for Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in apetalous and fully petalled winter oilseed rape

Young, C. S., Werner, C. P.
Plant pathology 2012 v.61 no.4 pp. 730-738
Brassica napus var. napus, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, corolla, field experimentation, flowering, leaves, lesions (plant), stamens, stem rot
Near‐isogenic lines (NILs) of apetalous (AP) and fully petalled (FP) winter oilseed rape were used to investigate infection by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, which occurs mainly via infected petals adhering to leaves in FP oilseed rape. AP1 flowers had an average of 1·4 and 0·8 petals per flower in field and polytunnel experiments, respectively. In field experiments there were no significant differences between counts of FP1 petals, FP1 stamens and AP1 stamens adhered to leaves during flowering. At any one sample time, significantly more stamens tested positive for S. sclerotiorum on AP1 than FP1 NILs, e.g. in 2004, at early flowering 37·5% and 24·2% of stamens tested positive on AP1 and FP1 NILs, respectively. In polytunnel experiments, there were significantly more sclerotinia lesions per plant in the FP1 than in the AP1 NIL. The AP1 NIL did not avoid infection completely, probably because it produced some petals, and lesions were initiated from adhered stamens as well as petals. However, while 8·5% and 16·3% of petals initiated lesions in FP1 and AP1 NILs, respectively, only 2·5% and 1·0% of stamens initiated lesions in FP1 and AP1 NILs, which suggests stamens may be less infective than petals. In field experiments the AP1 NIL had significantly less incidence of sclerotinia stem rot than the FP1 NIL in 2004 (4·9% and 7·0%, respectively). However, there was no significant difference in stem rot incidence between AP and FP lines in 2005 (3·6% and 4·3%, respectively) or 2006 (5·5% and 3·9%, respectively).