Plant diseases

Botrytis

Important crops

Italy is a country that has a not very solid economy due to the wrong choices that have been made from a political point of view in recent decades, but in reality the Italian economy has a devastating potential, because it is a good concentration of industry, tourism and many activities such as specialized agriculture which generates a good financial turnover and employs many people. However, there are crops that are more important than others; it is not a question of scientific importance, but of an objective greater appeal to the consumer and therefore a greater gain in economic terms; the two most important crops from this point of view are that of the olive tree, for the production of oil, and that of the vine, for the production of the famous Italian wines, one of the many flagships of our culinary and gastronomic tradition, capable of generating billions of euros in exports every year. From an economic point of view, it is therefore essential to protect these crops with laws and studies, in order to leave their quality intact (or even improve it) and above all in order to protect them from natural attacks which, however, can cause serious damage and huge economic defeats if they are not is ready to face the situation.

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In this short article-treatise we will talk about the vine, a crop originating in the Mediterranean area, known for millennia (it was already known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who made great use of it) for its fruit – grapes – but above all for the nectar, the drink made from it: wine. In the world the Italian wine industry collects successes on successes, awards, records and so on, also yielding a decent round of billions of euros which certainly does not harm our nation and the problem of work. However, this greatly amplifies the problems of a parasitic nature, i.e. those natural but unpleasant events that cause the attack of fungi, insects, bacteria and other living beings to the vine plant, compromising its aesthetics, life and also the yield in grapes and wine, real economic damage.

Botrytis

The scientific name of botrytis is Botrytis cinerea, with the second word deriving from the Latin and the meaning of “ash”, referring to the grayish aspect that the visible part of this fungus has, so much so that it is also called gray mold. This parasitic fungus attacks and infests many plants, but the vine is clearly the most important from an economic point of view and therefore attention is focused on it; strangely, towards human beings, this fungus can cause allergies and allergic attacks, but the dynamics of certain phenomena, which are rare and limited, are not well known. Botrytis occurs in two aspects, that is two different forms: there is gray mold, which occurs in the period of grape ripening in conditions of moist and soft soil and a constantly humid atmosphere, and noble mold, which occurs slightly earlier (when the climate is still hot and fairly dry) being however caused by the local accumulations of humidity caused by the morning dew that we often find on vine plants. The gray mold causes the irrecoverable fall of the clusters, while the noble rot is so called because it does not cause the loss of the cluster but only its slight withering with a reduction of sugars (which the mushroom feeds on), a characteristic that allows the production of liqueur wines and with a particular flavor, much appreciated.

Botrytis: Biology and contrast

As we mentioned in the first paragraphs, sometimes botrytis can appear in such an unexpected, strong and sudden way as to cause real disasters; exactly this happened in 2006, when due to the particular climatic conditions of that year in Sardinia, there was a devastating attack of botrytis that almost completely eliminated the grape harvest of that region of Italy, causing enormous economic damage; however, it must be said that the farmers had their faults, because they did not expect such an attack and were not prepared to counter it. This is usually done with anti-tritis products, that is specific for botrytis, which can be used both as a prevention and as a solution in the early stages of the attack; alongside them, specific products are used that prevent the grapes from being split and torn by the progress of the disease in order to be able to try to recover a part of it both to be served at the table and to produce wine. The biology of the botrytis fungus sees a certain stasis, especially in the form of mycelium, in the winter period, with a large diffusion of conidia – produced by conidiophores in the spring – carried by rainwater and wind.

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