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Colletotrichum acutatum occurs asymptomatically on apple leaves

Børve, Jorunn, Stensvand, Arne
European journal of plant pathology 2017 v.147 no.4 pp. 943-948
Colletotrichum acutatum, apples, conidia, fungi, growing season, inoculum, leaf area, leaves, odors, orchards, shoots, Norway
Fungi within the Colletotrichum acutatum species complex occur asymptomatically on plant parts of many different plant species. Leaves from apple orchards in southern Norway were sampled, frozen for five hours and incubated for six days to reveal presence of asymptomatic infections of C. acutatum. Number of leaves (incidence) and leaf area covered (severity) with conidial masses of C. acutatum were assessed biweekly on cv. Aroma from late May to late September during three growing seasons. The first finding of conidial masses occurred in the second half of July, and there was a higher incidence occurring in August and September. Sampling of leaves from fruit spurs and vegetative shoots of cvs. Aroma and Elstar showed that conidial masses of C. acutatum developed on leaves on both shoot types, and there was no difference in incidence between these two types. The fungus was detected on leaves from six of eight commercial orchards of cv. Aroma over three years, with a mean incidence of 5.5 %. After storage, bitter rot was found on apple fruit from all eight orchards. There was no correlation between incidence of conidial masses of C. acutatum on leaves and on fruit. In all orchards and seasons investigated, incidence and severity on leaves varied from 0 to 67 % and 0 to 85 %, respectively. The discovery of apple leaves containing conidial masses of C. acutatum clearly indicate for leaves as a potential source of inoculum for fruit infections.