Early detection of Psa infection in kiwifruit by means of infrared thermography at leaf and orchard scale

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Journal Article
Functional Plant Biology, 2014, 41 (12), pp. 1207 - 1220
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© CSIRO 2014. Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa), the causal agent of bacterial canker of kiwifruit, has become a worldwide threat for the kiwifruit industry. In this work, the potential of infrared thermography for early detection of physiological symptoms related to Psa-infection at leaf and at orchard block scale was assessed. At the leaf level, thermal cold spots appeared shortly after Psa-infection, well before any visual symptoms. A few weeks after infection, thermal hot spots were observed, associated with, but not limited to, spots of visible leaf necrosis. At orchard block level, Psa-infected canes were significantly warmer in both blocks and on all measurement days. A novel wet reference surface, existing of a cluster of cotton imitation leaves with similar dimensions and orientation as real leaves and remaining wet through sucking up water from a small container, was used to estimate the crop water stress index (CWSI). CWSI showed stable values of infected and uninfected areas during the day and between following days. Crop temperature and CWSI were closely correlated with leaf stomatal conductance, which was lower in infected canes. A Psa-infection map based on canopy temperature revealed that Psa infects the outer canes rather than the central part of the canopy.
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