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Modelling cacao pod growth: implications for disease control

Ten Hoopen G.M., Deberdt P., Mbenoum M., Cilas C.. 2012. Annals of Applied Biology, 160 (3) : p. 260-272.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7348.2012.00539.x

Cacao trees are affected by diseases that attack either their vegetative parts, their fruits or both. In cacao pod diseases, several factors are involved in disease susceptibility, such as the fruiting cycle, fruit size, age, position on the tree and cacao genotype. To gain a clearer understanding of how these characteristics influence cacao pod diseases, four models describing pod growth in several cacao genotypes were evaluated. Three models used to estimate pod volume or surface area were also compared. Observed pod growth was of a sigmoid form and fitted best to the Richards model, well to the Logistic and Beta growth models, and least to the Gompertz model. Pod volume and probably pod surface area were best estimated using a prolate spheroid model. Pod growth models can help improve pod disease management and thereby cacao production. They can help to predict yield, as well as provide information for the timing and frequency of control operations. Information on pod size, surface area and susceptibility will help to improve dose transfer and spray deposit studies intended to optimise control efficiency.

Mots-clés : theobroma cacao; fève de cacao; croissance; modèle de simulation; modèle mathématique; contrôle de maladies; cameroun

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