Botrytis Resources

Botrytis is one of the most serious post-harvest problems facing the floral industry. It is extremely difficult to control and causes significant losses and reduced profits.

Botrytis blight, also known as gray mold, causes brown spots on petals and leaves that renders the plant unmarketable. In less severe cases, Botrytis-infected flowers have reduced vase life. Interestingly, Botrytis damage has been shown to result in ethylene production within flowers. Botrytis spores germinate at a wide range of temperatures, including temperatures typically used for shipping and storage and at humidity levels of 93% or higher. Spores will germinate in 4 – 8 hours if water is present. In other words, the conditions used for production, shipping, and storage are also ideal for Botrytis growth. 

Additionally, the spores survive on living or decayed plant material for up to one year and may be spread by water, wind or on the hands and clothes of workers. Then, when moisture is present, the spores germinate and invade the petals and leaves. The germinated spores inject a toxin in the petal and leaf cells that leads to the damage we see on Botrytis-infected petals and leaves. The worst cases of Botrytis damage occur when production areas experience rain and high humidity conditions, water is present on leaves and stems in the shipping boxes, and temperature fluctuations cause condensation on the flowers and inside the sleeves.

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