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  • Author or Editor: Peter Sholberg x
  • HortTechnology x
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Vapors of several common vinegars containing 4.2% to 6.0% (= 2.5 to 3.6 mol·L-1) acetic acid effectively prevented conidia of brown rot [Monilinia fructicola (G. Wint.) Honey], gray mold (Botrytis cinerea Pers.:Fr.), and blue mold (Penicillium expansum Link) from germinating and causing decay of stone fruit (Prunus sp.), strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duchesne), and apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.), respectively. Fruit were fumigated in 12.7-L sealed containers in which vinegar was dripped on to filter paper wicks or vaporized by heating from an aluminum receptacle. Vapor from 1.0 mL of red wine vinegar (6.0% acetic acid) reduced decay by M. fructicola on `Sundrop' apricots (Prunus armeniaca L.) from 100% to 0%. Similarly, vapor from 1.0 mL of white vinegar (5.0% acetic acid) reduced decay in strawberries by B. cinerea from 50% to 1.4%. Eight different vinegars, ranging from 4.2% to 6.0% acetic acid, of which 0.5 mL of each vinegar was heat-vaporized, reduced decay by P. expansum to 1% or less in `Jonagold' apples. The volume of heat-vaporized white vinegar (5.0% acetic acid) necessary to reduce decay by P. expansum on `Jonagold' apples to zero was 36.6 μL·L-1 of air. Increasing the number of conidia on the apple surface reduced the effectiveness of vinegar vapor. The number of lesions caused by P. expansum on `McIntosh' apple decreased exponentially with increasing time of fumigation, approaching zero after about 6 hours. These results suggest that vinegar vapor could be an effective alternative to liquid biocides such as sodium hypochlorite for sterilization of surfaces contaminated by conidia of fungal pathogens.

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Acetic acid (AA) fumigation of rootstocks and dormant shoots was explored as a method of eliminating plant pathogens from propagation material. Dormant shoots were tested in early winter to determine the rate of AA vapor that they could tolerate before being damaged. Apricot (Prunus armeniaca), apple (Malus ×domestica), and peach (Prunus persica) shoots collected from a single site in Dec. 1999 tolerated 30, 12, or 6 mg·L–1 AA, respectively. Vineland 3 (V3) and Malling-Merton 106 (MM.106) rootstock liners fumigated with 1 mg·L–1 AA were adequately surface-sterilized although the effect on growth was not recorded. A similar experiment with Malling 9 (M9) rootstocks showed that 12 mg·L–1 AA would eliminate most surface microorganisims from roots although it delayed shoot growth when the trees were planted. The higher 15 mg·L–1 rate delayed tree growth and appeared to kill some trees. The 12 mg·L–1 rate prevented growth of Erwinia amylovora and Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae bacteria on shoots even when an enrichment technique was used to detect them. Finally, when 96 `Jonagold' apple shoots known to be infected by Podosphaera leucotricha were fumigated with AA in 2001, none developed powdery mildew, although 99% of the control shoots did. These promising results suggest that further research should be done toward adapting AA fumigation for use by commercial nurseries.

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