The dynamics of the host–parasite relationship between tomato cv. Brigade and Egyptian broomrape is temperature-related. This relationship was utilized for the development of an equation on the basis of thermal time (as measured by growing degree days, GDD, C) to predict the parasitism dynamics of Egyptian broomrape in tomato. To obtain a reliable prediction from thermal time values, studies based on a wide range of temperatures are essential. Four temperature-regime treatments and five levels of infestation with Egyptian broomrape seeds were tested in a multiclimate greenhouse (phytotron) and a temperature-controlled greenhouse, respectively. The day/night temperature regimes were 20/12 C, 23/15 C, 26/18 C, and 29/21 C and the infestation levels were 0 (noninfested control), 1, 5, 10, and 25 mg of Egyptian broomrape seeds per liter of soil. As expected, increasing temperature or infestation levels resulted in faster appearance and higher rate of attachments, respectively. The relation between development of attachments and GDD was described as a three-parameter logistic curve. In both temperature-regime and infestation-level experiments, the development of attachments began 200 GDD after planting and the maximal number of attachments was recorded 800 GDD after planting. A significant reduction in the aboveground biomass of the tomato plants due to increased Egyptian broomrape biomass was recorded only for the 26/18 C and 29/21 C day/night treatments and the three highest infestation levels (5, 10, and 25 mg L−1 soil). The ability to predict the start of parasitism can be used to develop a climate-based system for Egyptian broomrape control with herbicides.
Nomenclature: Egyptian broomrape; Phelipanche aegyptiaca Pers. (syn. Orobanche aegyptiaca); tomato; Lycopersicon esculentum L.