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New Zealand Plant Protection 63 (2010): 279

'Mini munchers' to control powdery mildew and botrytis bunch rot in grapes

K.S.H. Boyd-Wilson, S. Read and D.C. Mundy

ABSTRACT

The use of mycophagous (fungal feeding) invertebrates has potential to contribute to disease management in both organic and conventional wine production systems in New Zealand. The New Zealand wine industry is actively working towards producing ultra-low residue wines. This involves removing all late season botrytis fungicide sprays from the vineyard spray programme. In organic wine production systems in New Zealand, the only products available to control powdery mildew and botrytis bunch rot are protectants. In both these systems when fungicides are not available, mycophagous invertebrates may reduce the amount of inoculum available to cause disease. A survey of leaf material in 19 vineyards in Canterbury and Marlborough over the 2008-2009 growing season identified populations of beetles in two vineyards in sufficient numbers to justify further research. In the laboratory, field-collected beetles that were starved for 2 days, fed on spores of Botrytis cinerea (botrytis bunch rot) growing on blackcurrant flowers, Podosphaerea leucotricha (apple powdery mildew) on apple leaves and Erysiphe necator (grape powdery mildew) on grape leaves. Beetles were identified as Aridius bifaciatus (Reitter), A. nodifer (Westwood) and Cortinicara hirtalis (Broun).

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