Agron. Sustain. Dev.
Volume 28, Number 3, July-September 2008
Page(s) 403 - 409
Published online 03 June 2008
Agron. Sustain. Dev. 28 (2008) 403-409
DOI: 10.1051/agro:2008016

Grey mould development in greenhouse tomatoes under drip and furrow irrigation

Kamel Aissat1, Philippe C. Nicot2, Abdelhadi Guechi3, Marc Bardin2 and Mohamed Chibane1

1  Université A/Mira, Faculté des Sciences de la Nature et de la Vie, Laboratoire de Microbiologie Appliquée, Bejaia, 06000, Algeria
2  INRA, UR407 Pathologie Végétale, 84140 Montfavet, France
3  Université Ferhat Abbas, Département de Biologie, Sétif, 19000, Algeria

Accepted 12 March 2008; published online 3 June 2008

Abstract - Several methods can be used to provide water to plants in cropping systems where irrigation is necessary. For instance, drip irrigation has recently received much attention due to its advantages for water conservation. The type of irrigation can also impact the development of several pathogens responsible for soilborne diseases. Here, we studied the effect of drip irrigation and furrow irrigation on the development of grey mould, caused by the airborne fungus Botrytis cinerea, on tomato plants. A field experiment was conducted in 2004 in five unheated greenhouses. Plants were examined individually every 8 days and the proportion of plants attacked by grey mould on leaves, stems or fruits was recorded from the end of March until the end of June. Our results show that the attacks of Botrytis on the stems occurred earlier in furrow irrigation, 98.8 days after planting on average, than in drip irrigation: 106.3 days after planting. The kinetics of plant infection on stems, leaves and fruits were higher under furrow than under drip irrigation. Disease severity was measured by the average number of stem lesions per plant. Disease severity was higher in plants under furrow than under drip irrigation, reaching 1.32 and 0.99, respectively, at the end of June. Plant mortality due to grey mould was first recorded at 94 and 110 days after planting, respectively, in the furrow- and in the drip- irrigated greenhouses. These results suggest that drip irrigation could be a useful tool for the implementation of integrated protection schemes and for reducing the use of pesticides in unheated tomato greenhouses. They may also provide an additional incentive for growers to switch from furrow to drip irrigation in sheltered tomato production.

Key words: tomato / Lycopersicon esculentum / Botrytis cinerea / Algeria / sheltered crops / irrigation

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2008