Real-time PCR quantification and spatio-temporal distribution of airborne inoculum of Mycosphaerella graminicola in Belgium
The fungal pathogen Monilinia fructicola causes blossom blight and fruit brown rot of stone fruits in California. In this study, spore densities in the air were monitored in six orchard/year combinations with Burkard spore traps. A real-time PCR assay was developed to efficiently quantify the dynamics of spore density in these orchards during the growing season. Different patterns of dynamics of spore density were observed in these orchards. A linear relationship between numbers of spores counted with a compound microscope and those determined with the real-time PCR assay was obtained, using the same samples of spore traps. Spore density in five of six orchard/year combinations ranged from 0.0 to 0.05 spores l−1, except for that in orchard 4, which showed much higher values of spore density in the air, as well as higher values and wider range of incidences of blossom infection and fruit rot than those in the other orchards. The results demonstrated a potential method to quantitatively determine spore inoculum potential in orchards by using a real-time PCR assay.