Single and combined effects of Drosophila suzukii and Drosophila melanogaster on sour rot development in viticulture.
Sour rot is a disease complex that causes serious damage in viticulture. The common vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster (Diptera: Drosophilidae) is associated with sour rot in overripe or otherwise damaged grapes. Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) is an invasive species, which is suspected to induce sour rot in previously undamaged grapes due to the flies' ability to infest healthy, undamaged soft fruits with its serrated ovipositor. As a consequence, infection of healthy grapes by D. suzukii may facilitate the colonization by D. melanogaster. We investigated the single and combined effects of D. suzukii and D. melanogaster on sour rot development by measuring volatile acidity under near-natural conditions in the vineyard, along with laboratory experiments under controlled climate. In 2017, the combined field and laboratory experiments suggested that the presence of D. suzukii and D. melanogaster increased the volatile acidity levels at a similar rate. In 2018, the field experiments showed an only marginal increase in sour rot development in treatments with both Drosophila species. Under more favourable laboratory conditions, the presence of D. suzukii, but not D. melanogaster triggered sour rot emergence. A facilitating effect of D. suzukii infestation for D. melanogaster was not detectable. These findings suggest that D. suzukii does in fact have the potential to trigger sour rot, but will probably rarely do so under field conditions in the vineyard, at least in the studied region. Instead, our study showed that D. melanogaster can have a similar impact on sour rot development as D. suzukii, emphasizing the need of comparative studies.