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Non-abscised aborted sweet cherry fruits are vulnerable to fruit decaying fungi and may be sources of infection for healthy fruits

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During three growing seasons (1999-2001), disease incidence of non-abscised aborted and normally developing (sound) sweet cherry fruits were investigated in a research orchard at Ullensvang, western Norway. To reveal possible fungal infections, aborted and sound fruits of two cultivars (cv. Van for three years and cv. Lapins for two years) were harvested over four to seven weeks in an experimental orchard during the green fruit phase and incubated at 20°C in moisture saturated air for 7 days. The most frequently observed fungal pathogens were Monilinia laxa , Colletotrichum gloeosporioides , and Botrytis cinerea . The mean of all observations (±standard deviation) over three years, showed that aborted and sound fruits had a disease incidence of 51.9% (±31.8) and 5.2% (±9.7), respectively, after seven days incubation. In 24 of 25 trials aborted fruits had significantly higher disease incidence than sound fruits after incubation. In one season, when fruits were collected from two commercial orchards, aborted fruits had much higher disease incidence than sound fruits (a mean of 6.5 and 4.5 times higher incidence for the two orchards, respectively). Time of fruit abortion varied with the years (two years observation) and the two cultivars, but the major abortion took place between the fourth and eighth week after anthesis. A higher disease incidence and more rapid disease development in non-abscised aborted fruits indicate that they are more vulnerable to fungal colonisation than sound fruits and may thus be potential incoulum sources for neighbouring, healthy fruits.
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Keywords: Botrytis cinerea; Colletotrichum gloeosporioides; Monilinia laxa; Prunus avium; fruit drop

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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