Announcements

Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Last commentsmore »

Top 5 - yesterday

  • No news has been published yesterday.

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




US: "Good-guy" fungus to take on killer of oaks and ornamental crops

A beneficial soil fungus could offer a biobased approach to battling Phytophthora ramorum, a pathogen that kills oaks, other tree species and woody ornamentals.

BioWorks, Inc. of Victor, New York, is collaborating with Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant pathologist Tim Widmer to commercially formulate the fungus, Trichoderma asperellum. The species is a mycoparasite, meaning it attacks and kills other fungi, including P. ramorum, a fungus-like pathogen, notes Widmer, with ARS in Fort Detrick, Maryland.


Phytophthora ramorum (see large circle) can fell mighty oaks and sicken woody ornamental crops. But it’s no match against Trichoderma asperellum, a beneficial fungus (see strands) that infects and kills the pathogen. (Photo by Tim Widmer)

P. ramorum is best known as the culprit behind Sudden Oak Death, a disease of oak and other hardwood trees in coastal forests of California and Oregon. Nursery growers are familiar with a different manifestation of the pathogen called "Ramorum Blight." This disease afflicts rhododendron, viburnum, camellia and other woody ornamental plants.

Chemical fumigation and soil sterilization are two common methods of keeping nursery stock blight-free—and compliant with federal and state quarantine regulations meant to prevent the pathogen's spread. However, T. asperellum could offer a biobased alternative to such soil treatments, which are many times costly, dangerous to use and harmful to beneficial soil organisms.

In petri-dish experiments and outdoor trials with potting mix, use of the biocontrol fungus reduced P. ramorum levels by 60 to 100 percent. A chemical fungicide achieved similar results, but only temporarily: eight weeks later, the pathogen reemerged in the potting mix. Widmer suspects the fungicide temporarily halted the growth of the pathogen, but didn't kill it.

The biocontrol fungus uses a specialized tactic for breaching the defenses of P. ramorum, which it enters to feed, germinate and start the cycle all over again until little or no pathogen remains in the soil.

BioWorks and Widmer aim to capitalize on this "talent" by formulating the fungus into a wettable powder that can be added to nursery soils and potting mixes.

Read more about this research in the August 2017 issue of AgResearch.

Publication date: 8/11/2017

 


 

Other news in this sector:

12/15/2017 NL: Grower Dirk-Jan Oudijk gets a warning for Botrytis
12/14/2017 "Broad mite symptoms may be mistaken for virus or herbicide damage"
12/12/2017 Root disease profile: Fusarium
12/12/2017 UK: Fuchsia gall mite found in nursery
12/12/2017 Certis USA introduces Carb-O-Nator for greenhouse, nursery use
12/12/2017 Australia: New ‘one stop shop’ for cactus control
12/7/2017 US (DE): Ecological task force attempts to eliminate invasive plants
12/7/2017 New Zealand: Myrtle rust found in Wellington region
12/6/2017 Australia: Brown marmorated stink bug in Western Sydney
12/5/2017 Xylella: EFSA participates in ministerial conference
12/5/2017 NZ 'may have lost the battle' against myrtle rust
12/1/2017 Small predatory mites against small mites
11/30/2017 Kenya: Getting value for money in crop protection
11/30/2017 India: Bangalore scientists decode insect's choice of flower
11/28/2017 CAN: British Columbia working to stop spread of marmorated stink bug
11/27/2017 New Zealand: Second myrtle rust find in Auckland
11/27/2017 Xylella fastidiosa: EU controls
11/24/2017 US (MI): Online IPM Academy offers pesticide recertification credits
11/24/2017 PGR Mix Master app gets upgrade
11/23/2017 New Zealand: Myrtle rust appears in west Auckland

 

Leave a comment: (max. 500 characters)

  1. All comments which are not related to the article contents will be removed.
  2. All comments with non-related commercial content, will be removed.
  3. All comments with offensive language, will be removed.




  Display email address

  new code