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Characteristics of Citrus Canker Lesions Associated with Premature Drop of Sweet Orange Fruit

Lanza, Fabrício E., Marti, Weber, Silva, Geraldo J., Behlau, Franklin
Phytopathology 2019 v.109 no.1 pp. 44-51
Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri, disease control, fruit drop, fruits, oranges, peduncle, probability, regression analysis, trees
During the development of a citrus fruit, many cycles of infection by Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri may occur leading to the development of a range of characteristics of citrus canker lesions scattered across the fruit surface. This study aimed to determine whether the size of the lesions, their distance from the peduncle, and the number and time of appearance of the lesions on fruit of sweet orange were associated with premature fruit drop. A multiple linear regression analysis revealed a negative relationship between the fruit detachment force and the lesion diameter, the proximity of the nearest lesion to the peduncle and the number of lesions. A survival analysis demonstrated that these characteristics significantly influenced the probability and the time that a cankered fruit remained attached to the tree. More than 90% of dropped fruit had large lesions (>5 mm) but not all fruit with large lesions dropped before harvest. Approximately 50% of the harvested fruit had lesions >5 mm. On the harvested fruit remaining on the tree, although large, the lesions had a smaller diameter, were located farther from the peduncle, and were less numerous than those observed on dropped fruit. Small canker lesions neither reduced the detachment force nor the survival of fruit in the tree. The earlier a fruit expressed canker symptoms, the higher the probability the fruit developed large lesions near the peduncle and/or developed lesions in greater numbers. This study provides a better understanding on the relationship between the time of appearance of lesions of citrus canker on fruit and premature fruit drop. This information defines the critical period for fruit protection and may be used to improve disease management.