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Seasonal effects of foliar application of phosphonate on phosphonate translocation, in vitro pollen viability and pollen germination in `Hass' avocado (Persea americana Mill.)

Nartvaranant, P. and Hamill, S. and Leonard, J. and Whiley, A.W. (2004) Seasonal effects of foliar application of phosphonate on phosphonate translocation, in vitro pollen viability and pollen germination in `Hass' avocado (Persea americana Mill.). Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology, 79 (1). pp. 91-96.

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Publisher URL: http://www.jhortscib.com/

Abstract

Phosphonate fungicides are used widely in the control of diseases caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands. For the most part phosphonate is seen as a safe to use on crops with phytotoxicity rare. However, recent research has shown that phosphonate has detrimental effects on the floral biology of some indigenous Australian plants. Since phosphonate fungicides are regularly used for the control of Phytophthora root rot in avocados, research was carried out to study the translocation of phosphonate fungicide in 'Hass' trees and any effects on their floral biology. Field-grown trees were sprayed with 0, 0.06 or 0.12 M mono-dipotassium phosphonate (pH 7.2) at summer flush maturity, floral bud break or anthesis. Following treatment, phosphonic acid concentrations were determined in leaves, roots, inflorescence rachi and flowers and in vitro pollen germination and pollen tube growth studied. Phosphonic acid concentration in the roots and floral parts was related to their sink strength at the respective times of application with concentration in roots highest (36.9.mg g±1) after treatment at summer flush maturity and in flowers (234.7 mg g±1) after treatment during early anthesis. Phosphonate at >0.03 M was found to be significantly phytotoxic to in vitro pollen germination and pollen tube growth. However, this rate gave a concentration far in excess of that measured in plant tissues following standard commercial applications of mono-dipotassium phosphonate fungicide. There was a small effect on pollen germination and pollen tube growth when 0.06 and 0.12 M mono-dipotassium phosphonate was applied during early anthesis. However, under favourable pollination and fruit set conditions it is not expected to have commercial impact on tree yield. However, there may be detrimental commercial implications from phosphonate sprays at early anthesis if unfavourable climatic conditions for pollination and fruit set subsequently occur. A commercial implication from this study is that phosphonic acid root concentrations can be elevated and maintained with strategic foliar applications of phosphonate fungicide timed to coincide with peaks in root sink strength. These occur at the end of the spring and summer flushes when shoot growth is relatively quiescent. Additional foliar applications may be advantageous in under high disease-pressure situations but where possible should be timed to minimize overlap with other significant growth events in the tree such as rapid inflorescence, and fruit development and major vegetative flushing.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© The Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology Trustees.
Keywords:Phosphonate fungicides; Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands; indigenous Australian plants; root rot; avocados.
Subjects:Science > Science (General)
Science > Botany
Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture > Culture of individual fruits or types of fruit > Stonefruit
Plant pests and diseases > Pest control and treatment of diseases. Plant protection > Pesticides
Deposited On:15 Oct 2007
Last Modified:07 Jun 2011 00:10

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