June 26, 2010
June 26 - Botrytis cinerea
Have you ever enjoyed a glass of sweet dessert wine? It's all thanks to a fungal parasite called Botrytis cinerea, or "grey mould". It is a pathogen which can infect a number of different crop plants including beans, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, and grapes. Unlike many parasites, Botrytis cinerea is not obligately parasitic - it can alternate between living as a parasite, or as detrivore which digests dead organic matter. While this fungi is a cause for headache for most farmers, in vitriculture, it is also known as "noble rot". A late infection by B. cinerea in white grapes lead to drying of the grape berries which increase the sugar concentration without increasing acidity. Maybe a good dessert wine brought to us thanks to the "noble rot" would be a good way to accompany the course of parasites you have been enjoying this week.