Sclerotinia sclerotiorum

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Sclerotinia sclerotiorum of common bean
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary (1884) - (Sclerotinia stem rot)

The fungus causes stem rot (e.g. on hemp, soybeans, pepper, sunflower) and white mold (e.g. on bean). The fungus is widespread and has a large host range. It might cause various other diseases like rots on stored vegetables and fruits. Crop losses can be substantial. For example, Phaseolus beans are often infected and losses may amount to around 30%, reaching total losses during rainy periods. The affected parts become gradually covered with white, cottony growth, imbedded with black sclerotia.

The sclerotia survive in the soil for several years. Germinating sclerotia can infect underground parts of the plant. They also form small, cup-like apothecia which produce ascospores. These are ejected from the apothecia by a "puffing" phenomenon and can survive in the environment for several months. They are the primary infection source for aboveground parts. Sampling of airborne ascospores can be used to monitor infestation levels of the fungus.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Weißstängeligkeit des Raps
• English: Sclerotinia stem rot
white mold
Sclerotinia head rot of sunflower
• Español: podredumbre blanca
• Français: pourridié sclérotique

Sclerotia are usually 3-6 mm in diameter. Ascospores are oval in shape, binucleate and around 10-14 x 4-5 µm large.

Synonyms:
Sclerotinia libertiana

For details see the respective page in Wikipedia.