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Effects of the Harvest Method on the Infestation of Chestnuts (Castanea sativa) by Insects and Moulds

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Abstract:

Abstract

Chestnuts were collected either every 7 days from suspended nets used to intercept the fruits, every 2 days from the ground or every 7 days from the ground. Nuts were visually inspected after collection for the presence of exit holes of the chestnut weevil (Curculio elephas) and the chestnut moth (Cydia splendana), and 20 nuts per sampling and tree were bisected to assess fungal colonization. Apparently healthy nuts were incubated at 24°C and 70–80% relative humidity for 21 days. All nuts were bisected after incubation and examined for the presence of insects and moulds. The harvest method did not have a statistically significant effect on either moulding or insect infestation except on Amphiporthe castanea. This vertically transmitted fungal endophyte was less frequently isolated from fruits collected after 7 days from the ground. The black rot fungus Ciboria batschiana did not occur in chestnuts intercepted in nets, but the difference to chestnuts collected from the ground was statistically not significant. The frequency of nuts colonized by C. batschiana was low in general probably due to the hot and dry summer in 2003. Big, marketable fruits appeared to be less frequently colonized by insects and moulds right after collection. This difference disappeared after incubation except for the chestnut moth. The mother tree had the greatest effect on fungal and insect infestation, indicating the importance of the genetic disposition and/or the phytosanitary situation of each tree. The chestnut weevil preferred chestnuts of the variety ‘Lüina’ to those of the variety ‘Torcion’, whereas the fungi A. castanea, Trichothecium roseum, Clonostachys rosea and Penicillium spp. preferentially colonized chestnuts of the variety ‘Torcion’.

Keywords: Ciboria batschiana; biodiversity; chestnut moth (Cydia splendana); chestnut weevil (Curculio elephas); fruit spoilage; fungi; orchard; phytosanitary measures; vertical transmission of tree endophytes

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0434.2007.01269.x

Affiliations: 1: ETH Zurich, Institute of Integrative Biology, Forest Pathology and Dendrology, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland 2: Agroscope RAC Changins, Swiss Federal Research Station for Plant Production of Changins, Centre of Cadenazzo, 6594 Contone, Switzerland 3: WSL Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Sottostazione Sud delle Alpi, 6504 Bellinzona, Switzerland (correspondence to T. N. Sieber. ), Email: thomas.sieber@env.ethz.ch

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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