Grass seed infection following inundation with Pyrenophora semeniperda.
Seed infection by the seed-borne pathogen Pyrenophora semeniperda was demonstrated following inundative applications of the fungus to several annual grass weeds and wheat. The optimum time for applying inoculum was found to be around mid-anthesis in wheat. Applications of inoculum during and after anthesis in field experiments resulted in seed infection that manifested as stromatal development which affected germination or reduced seedling vigour. In an initial field experiment, >70% of Bromus diandrus seeds exhibited stromata of P. semeniperda. In a field comparison of inoculum types, conidial suspensions resulted in the greatest level of seed infection of B. diandrus compared with several types of inoculum containing mycelium fragments. Inundation of Avena fatua, Lolium rigidum, Hordeum leporinum, Vulpia bromoides and B. diandrus under field conditions with conidia of P. semeniperda also resulted in either the failure of infected seeds to germinate or a reduction of seedling vigour. It is concluded that the use of P. semeniperda as a seed-borne bioherbicide may be a biologically reasonable tactic, and the many logistical and technological constraints impeding its development are discussed.