Cucumber Powdery Mildew: Numerous vegetable crops are susceptible to powdery mildew, with cucurbits a group that are severely affected. A Warwickshire College Group project investigated the causative fungal plant pathogens involved In the development of powdery mildew and gummy stem blight on cucurbits.
The project team developed monitoring systems to include rapid on-site diagnostic tests for use by growers which identify epidemiological significant inoculum in crop bioaerosols.
Working alongside growers in technology adoption, ground truthing and KT events two species of powdery mildew were identified in UK cucurbit cropping systems. Diagnostic tests (molecular and immunological) have been developed and used by industry to monitor bio-aerosols for causative agents of Myco (gummy stem blight) and Powdery mildew over successive cropping seasons. AHDB supported the research and publication of the final report in June 2018.
The project demonstrated that early detection (i.e. ahead of symptom development) and improvements in both spray timing & frequency/no. of applications lead to financial benefit gained through improved quality and reduced pesticide residues. The predictive deployment of control measures will provide disease control systems that are sustainable with the use of lower-input farming systems.
The research program with AHDB funding has been extended for an additional year at WCG Pershore (2018-2019) to investigate seasonal and regional variation of cucurbit powdery mildew causing species and further develop/commercialise on-site rapid diagnostic test.