Differential Infection of Mother and Runner Plant Generations by Verticillium dahliae in a High Elevation Strawberry Nursery

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  • 1 University of California, Davis, CA 95616

Strawberry cultivars Selva and Camarosa (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) were grown at a high elevation nursery in soil that was either naturally infested with Verticillium dahliae or was rendered pathogen-free through preplant fumigation with 2 methyl bromide: 1 chloropicrin (wt/wt) at 392 kg·ha-1. Plants grown in fumigated soil were inoculated with a conidial suspension of V. dahliae, prior to establishment. Just prior to harvest, plants were rated for disease based on symptoms of Verticillium wilt. At the same time, petiole samples were taken from mother plants and each of three generations of runner plants, along with the stolons subtending each of the sampled runner plants. Petioles and stolons were cultured to assay for the presence of V. dahliae, and scored as either infected or not infected. The experiment was conducted in each of two successive years, and the following conclusions were supported by results obtained in both years. First, symptoms of Verticillium wilt on mother plants of both cultivars were highly correlated with recovery of V. dahliae from petioles, but runner plants were consistently free of symptoms even though they were often infected. Second, runner plants sustained lower infection frequencies than mother plants, with the differences being significant in most cases. Lastly, infection of runner plants was due, at least in part, to transfer of inoculum from infected mother plants; in some cases this appears to have been the exclusive mode of infection.

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