Effects of leaf wetness duration, relative humidity, light and dark on infection and sporulation by Didymella rabiei on chickpea

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No infection occurred at less than 95% relative humidity (r.h.) when chickpea plants were dried after inoculation with conidia of Didymella rabiei. Infection was significant when the dry leaves were exposed to 98% r.h. for 48 h. When inoculated plants were subjected to different leaf wetness periods, some infection occurred with 4 h wetness, and disease severity increased with wetness duration according to an exponential asymptote, with a maximum value after about 18 h. Germination of conidia and germ tube penetration increased linearly with increasing wetness periods when recorded 42 h after inoculation. With a 24-h wetness period, germination of conidia was first observed 12 h after inoculation and increased linearly with time up to 52 h (end of the experiment). Dry periods immediately after inoculation, followed by 24-h leaf wetness, reduced disease severity; as the dry period increased the severity decreased. Disease severity increased with increasing periods of darkness after inoculation. The number of pycnidia and the production of conidia on infected leaves increased only slightly with high r.h. (either in the light or in the dark), but large increase occurred over an 8-day period when the leaves were kept wet.

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