Gray Mold: A Blessing and a Curse

By Brant Wickline, Sustainable Plant Systems

I started learning about this disease in my PLNTPTH 3001 class this year. It is a very interesting fungus and I hope you enjoy learning about it.

Let’s first look at how any type of disease occurs. We use what we call the disease pyramid. The four sides of the pyramid include…

  • Susceptible Host
  • Virulent (can cause disease) Pathogen
  • Conducive Environment
  • Time

It’s important to add in time because unlike an injury to a plant a disease takes time to develop in a plant

*Without one of these sides of the pyramid the disease will not occur.

Now we are going to look at the sides of the pyramid for the disease of Gray Mold

  • Susceptible Host —- Grapes
  • Virulent Pathogen —– Botrytis cinera
  • Conducive Environment —- Hot and Humid Climate
  • And don’t forget time

In this disease, a fungus grows on soft berries like strawberries and grapes. It sucks the moisture out of the fruit and leaves behind what is left which is mostly sugar.

The title of the blog  said blessing and curse. This, so far, has just shown how this fungus is a curse. How could it be a blessing?

This sugar that is left on what is left of the fruit is used to make a very highly concentrated wine. If you’ve ever heard of Botrytised Wine this is where it comes from. I have to warn you though, it is a very expensive wine, however, don’t let that distract you from how delicious and sweet this dessert wine is.

The best vintners learn to infect their plants with Botrytis cinera and harvest their fruit at the precise moment in order to make this wine. If they are too late then they will lose their entire crop.

Lots of fruit are susceptible to this fungus. With the growing population, we need to be able to produce more food to feed everyone. Diseases like this affect everyone nationwide.

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About me

My grandparents own a small local florist and garden center in Xenia, Ohio. I a have been around plants all my life. Sustainable Plant Systems was the perfect major for someone like me. Hope you enjoyed. 🙂

 

 

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