Abstract

The effectiveness of whey against powdery mildew ( Podosphaera xanthii) of cucumber and zucchini squash was tested in greenhouse experiments. Plants were sprayed once or twice a week with whey at concentrations of 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30% in water. Severity of powdery mildew was estimated weekly by visual assessment of individual leaves and scored as percentage of leaf area affected. Effectiveness of treatments did not differ significantly when applied weekly compared to twice a week. In each instance, powdery mildew severity correlated negatively with whey concentration. For cucumber, the rate of the disease progress in the control ranged from 0.45 to 0.75. Disease progressed more slowly in plants treated with 25–30% whey than when lower concentrations were used. The rate of disease progress varied from 0.12 to 0.33 in plants treated once a week and from 0.13 to 0.17 when applied twice a week. Similar tendencies were observed for zucchini, but disease progressed more rapidly and the final disease severity was higher than in cucumber. Effectiveness of whey applied twice a week at concentrations of 15–30% did not differ significantly among treatments; in these treatments the rate of disease progress was about 0.23 and significantly higher than the value for the water controls (about 0.80). Plants treated with 30% whey often exhibited symptoms of phytotoxicity. The data indicated that whey effectively controlled powdery mildew in cucumber and zucchini. Further studies are needed to optimize the concentration and timing of whey applications for mildew management in commercial crops.

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