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Effects of Temperature, Relative Humidity, and Plant Age on Bacterial Disease of Onion Plants

K. E. Tho, E. Brisco-McCann, P. Wiriyajitsomboon, and M. K. Hausbeck

September 2019


Foliar disease of onion in Michigan, caused by Pantoea agglomerans, Pantoea ananatis, or Enterobacter cowanii, has recently become a concern to producers. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of temperature, relative humidity (RH), and plant age in growth chamber and greenhouse experiments on onion plants inoculated with each pathogen. A significant level of disease resulted from each pathogen at 25 to 30°C, with strong positive associations detected using regression analysis between the area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) and temperature. RH also significantly influenced symptom development. Foliar disease symptoms developed sooner and were more severe when RH was high (80 to 100%) but was limited at RH < 60%. Significant positive associations between RH and AUDPC, as described by linear regression, were also detected. When 6- to 14-week-old plants were inoculated with each bacterial pathogen, susceptibility increased significantly with age. These results provide insight into the epidemiology of P. agglomerans, P. ananatis, and E. cowanii bacterial pathogens of onions in Michigan and can assist in the development and timing of management strategies.


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