Gray mold (botrytis blight) is an infectious plant disease caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, primarily infecting flowers and buds. A distinctive symptom of gray mold is brown soft spots covered with a dusty mold.
Symptoms vary across plant organs and tissues. B. cinerea is a soft rot that will have a collapsed and water soaked appearance on soft fruit and leaves. Brown lesions may develop slowly on undeveloped fruit. Twigs infected with gray mold will die back. Blossoms will cause fruit drop and injury, such as ridging on developing and mature fruit. Symptoms are visible at wound sites where the fungus begins to rot the plant. Gray masses with a velvety appearance are conidia on the plant tissues are a sign of plant pathogen. These conidia are asexual spores that will continue to infect the plant and surrounding hosts throughout the growing season making this a polycyclic disease. Plants can produce localized lesions when a pathogen attacks. An oxidative burst causes hypersensitive cell death called a hypersensitive response (HR). This soft rot can trigger HR to assist in colonization. Botrytis cinerea, as a necrotrophic pathogen, exploits the dead tissue for its pathogenicity or its ability to cause disease. Susceptible plants cannot use the HR to protect against Botrytis cinerea.
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