UNDERSTANDING LATE SEASON FRUIT ROT PATHOSYSTEMS AND INSECT INTERACTIONS IN MID-ATLANTIC VINEYARDS
Swett, Cassandra L
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Fungal fruit rots and insect pests are among the most important problems negatively affecting the yield and quality of mid-Atlantic wine. In pathogenicity trials of fungi recovered from diseased Chardonnay and Vidal blanc grapes, Alternaria alternata, Pestalotiopsis telopeae, and Aspergillus japonicus were found to be unreported fruit rot pathogens in the region. Additionally, P. telopeae and A. japonicus had comparable virulence to the region’s common fruit rot pathogens. Furthermore, a timed-exclusion field study was implemented to evaluate vineyard insect-fruit rot relationships. It was found that clusters exposed to early-season insect communities that included Paralobesia viteana had a significantly greater incidence of sour rot than clusters protected from insects all season. These results were contrary to the current assumption that fall insects are the primary drivers of sour rot in the region. This research provides diagnostic tools and information to develop management-strategies against fungal and insect pests for mid-Atlantic grape growers.