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Thomas W. Walters, LeRoy A. Ellerbrock, Jan J. van der Heide, James W. Lorbeer and David P. LoParco

Greenhouse and field methods were developed to screen Allium spp. for resistance to botrytis leaf blight (causal agent Botrytis squamosa Walker). In greenhouse evaluations, plants were sprayed with laboratory-grown mycelial fragment inoculum and were incubated at 20C in a chamber with an atomizing fogger. For field inoculations, a portable fog system with windbreaks was erected around experimental plots, and the plants were sprayed with the inoculum on evenings when windless, temperate (18 to 22C) conditions were forecasted. The most effective mycelial fragment inoculum was <21 days old and had ≈45 to 50 colony-forming units/μl, resulting in an absorbance at 450 nm of 0.2 to 0.3. Rubbing the wax cuticle from leaves was essential to disease development in greenhouse but not in field experiments. Evaluations of eight Allium species, including 55 A. cepa L. accessions, were in agreement with previous studies.

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Thomas W. Walters, Leroy A. Ellerbrock, Jan J. van der Heide, James W. Lorbeer and David P. LoParco

Greenhouse and field methods were developed to screen Allium spp. for resistance to Botrytis leaf blight (caused by Botrytis squamosa Walker). In the green-house, plants were sprayed with laboratory-grown inoculum and incubated in a temperature-controlled enclosure containing an atomizing mist system. For field inoculations, a portable misting system with windbreaks was erected, and the plants were sprayed with laboratory-grown inoculum. Greenhouse and field incubation conditions maintained leaf wetness without washing inoculum from the leaves. Botrytis leaf blight symptoms in greenhouse and field evaluations were identical to symptoms in commercial onion fields. A total of 86 selected USDA Allium collection accessions were evaluated using these methods. All A. fistulosum accessions and A. roytei were highly resistant to immune, as were most accessions of A. altaicum, A. galanthum, A. pskemense, and A. oschaninii. Nearly all of the A. vavilovii and A. cepa accessions were susceptible. However, one A. cepa accession (PI 273212 from Poland) developed only superficial lesions, which did not expand to coalesce and blight leaves. This work confirms previous reports of Botrytis leaf blight resistance in Allium spp., and suggests that strong resistance exists with A. cepa.