Runner Plant Cold Storage Reduces Verticillium dahliae Infection of Nursery Origin in Strawberry

in HortScience

Strawberry runner plants from the cultivar `Selva' (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) were produced using three nursery treatments in each of three years: propagation in soil fumigated with a mixture of 2 methyl bromide: 1 chloropicrin (w/w) at 392 kg·ha-1, propagation in fumigated soil but using planting stock inoculated prior to nursery establishment with a conidial suspension of Verticillium dahliae (106 conidia/mL), and propagation in nonfumigated soil naturally infested with V. dahliae. Runner plants were harvested and stored at 1 °C for 6, 18, or 34 days prior to establishment in fruit production trials. No significant differences were found between runner plants grown in naturally infested soil and runner plants obtained from artificially inoculated mother plants for V. dahliae infection rates detected by petiole isolation immediately prior to transplanting, the percentage of plants visibly stunted due to disease during the following production season, and seasonal yield compared with corresponding noninfected controls. Cold storage of runner plants for 18 or 34 days, produced using either natural or artificial inoculation systems, reduced the initial percentage of infected plants by 42% to 61% and the percentage of stunted plants during the following fruit production season by 43% to 57%, compared with plants from corresponding nursery treatments given only 6 days post-nursery cold storage. Yields for inoculated plants with 6 days cold storage were 16% to 20% less than those for uninoculated controls, whereas yields for inoculated plants with 18 or 34 days of storage were 3% to 9% less than the respective controls. Most of the cold storage effects on initial infection rate, stunting, and yield were realized at the 18 days of storage treatment. A reduction in the fraction of V. dahliae infected plants due to cold storage, suggests either a direct effect of cold storage on the disease organism or stimulation of secondary resistance mechanisms in the plant. Chemical name used: trichloronitromethane (chloropicrin).

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