Basis for a predictive model of Xanthomonas arboricola pv pruni growth and infections in host plants

Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni (Xap) is the causal agent of bacterial spot disease of stone fruits and almond. The bacterium is considered a quarantine pathogen in Europe and it has become a new and emerging threat for European crops. As the disease is strongly influenced by the weather, a forecasting model that predicts Xap infections based on climatic conditions could be implemented in stone fruit integrated pest management. The objective of this work was to constrain the basis for the development of a predictive model of Xap growth and infections, determining the effects of pathogen, host and climatic parameters on infection and disease development. A non-pathogenic specialization of Xap and cross-infection among host species was observed, although strains isolated from peach were the most virulent in peach leaves. Xap was able to infect unwounded leaves and it was observed that the presence of wounds on the leave surface did not favour Xap penetration in peach leaves. Otherwise, the water condition of plants played an important role in Xap infections and disease development in peach. The presence of water congestion and leaf wetness 48 h before inoculation favoured Xap infections and the duration of leaf wetness after inoculation was directly correlated to disease severity. Temperature and leaf age had a significant effect on Xap infections. Temperatures above 20°C favoured Xap infections, which were basically produced in young leaves; whereas severity was significantly lower at temperatures below 15°C and in mature leaves ​
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