- Fruits: grapes
- Pest Management: botanical pesticides
Botrytis bunch rot or gray mold, caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea (Pers.:Fr), is one of the most destructive grapevine diseases worldwide. Managing Botrytis is challenging in the Northeastern United States due to ideal climatic conditions for the infections, leading to significant yield loss. Viticulturists primarily rely on canopy management and the prophylactic use of fungicides to control disease in their vineyards. However, there is increasing consumer demand for industrial pesticide-free fruits due to concerns of adverse effects of pesticides on non-pest species, soil microbes, human health, and the risk of fungal resistance to fungicide applications. One of the Integrated Pest Management program strategies is to use alternatives to synthetic fungicides to promote plant growth and suppress disease. Grapevines are known for their secondary metabolites production, that are documented to have antifungal and disease suppressive effects. Using grapevine debris (such as canes, wood, and leaves) from Vitis vinifera to suppress botrytis has been successfully demonstrated. However, there is limited research evaluating secondary metabolites with antifungal properties from cold-hardy grapevine varieties. Investigating the putative antifungal activity of field-collected grapevine leaves and cell suspension cultures obtained from cold-hardy grapevine varieties, will allow us to demonstrate the potential of grapevine-derived products as an alternative to synthetic fungicides. This could contribute to sustainable vineyard management practices in the long term.
Project objectives from proposal:
The overall goal of this research is to investigate the putative antifungal activity of field-collected grapevine leaves and cell suspension cultures obtained from cold-hardy grapevine varieties and demonstrate the potential of grapevine-derived products as an alternative to synthetic fungicides. The specific objectives are to:
- Investigate the in vitro antifungal activity of field-collected grapevine leaf extracts against Botrytis cinerea.
- Investigate the in vitro antifungal activity of cell suspension cultures against Botrytis cinerea.
- Test the effectiveness of field-collected grapevine leaf extracts in controlling Botrytis cinerea infection in grapevine leaves and berries.
- Test the effectiveness of cell suspension cultures in controlling Botrytis cinerea infection in grapevine leaves and berries.