INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR CONVENTIONAL AND ORGANICALLY PRODUCED VEGETABLE CROPS
Project Number: 6222-22000-006-00
Start Date: Apr 04, 2007
End Date: Sep 25, 2009
The overall objective of this project is to develop novel basic and applied solutions within an integrated/organic framework for reducing disease and insect losses in cucurbit crops while producing safe, nutritious products for consumers. The specific objectives include: 1) identify and develop systems for suppression of soilborne diseases using grafting and/or biofumigant crops to formulate novel control strategies applicable to organic and conventional vegetable speciality crops; 2) elucidate virulence parameters of selected pre- and postharvest pathogen populations, define the role of polygalacturonase-inhibiting protein (PGIP) as a plant pathogen defense mechanism, and use this information to develop integrated methodologies for natural control of cucurbit diseases in conventional and organic production; 3) characterize strains of Serratia marcescens from different ecological niches with special reference to the phloem-inhabiting strain that causes cucurbit yellow vine disease; 4) develop behavior-based alternative controls for insect vectors of CYVD and other key insect pests of vegetable crops; and 5) identify and develop disease-resistant germplasm and inbred lines for release to the seed industry.
Because plant-pest/host relationships are inherently difficult to study, more precise methods of quantifying pathogen virulence and of understanding insect behavior are prerequisite in formulating and measuring effective pest control strategies. This project's overall approach is to develop technologies necessary to devise integrated systems for conventional and organic producers to control disease and insect pests of watermelon, cantaloupe, and other specialty crops. Biofumigant crops (mustard) and biocontrol microbes will be integrated into the cropping system along with resistant germplasm for suppression of soilborne diseases. Grafting plants onto resistant rootstock will be part of a diverse approach for developing sustainable farming systems.