Periodicity and gradients in dispersal of Alternaria linicola in linseed crops
Fitt, Bruce D.L.
Lucas, J. A.
Conidia of Alternaria linicola produced on infected linseed crops were mainly dispersed by wind. The numbers of conidia in the air above linseed crops collected by a Burkard spore sampler were greatest between 12:00 h and 13:00 h, when the relative humidity was lowest. Although numbers of conidia collected decreased with increasing height within and above the crop canopy, air-borne A. linicola conidia were present up to 80 cm above the crop canopy. Conidia of A. linicola were transported by wind up to at least 40 m downwind from an artificial line inoculum source, but their numbers decreased with increasing distance from the source. In 1991, 1999, and 1993, the dispersal of A. linicola conidia above linseed crops followed a seasonal periodicity which was influenced by weather conditions and cultural practices. The greatest numbers of conidia were collected during July, August and early September and coincided with periods favourable for sporulation and with an increase in the incidence of the disease in the senescent crop. Air-borne A. linicola conidia produced on point or line inoculum sources (naturally infected linseed stem debris) were responsible for the spread of the disease in linseed crops. In 1992 and 1993, the disease was first detected downwind from the sources, but by the end of the growing seasons, it had spread in all directions and up to 20 m and 60 m from the sources, respectively. Disease gradients were initially steep near the inoculum sources but they became flatter with time due to the secondary spread of the disease.