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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Plant Pathology and Biological Control of Invasive Weeds

Authors
item Bruckart, William
item Berner, Dana
item Caesar, Anthony
item Widmer, Timothy

Submitted to: Biological Control of Invasive Plants in the United States
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 30, 2003
Publication Date: March 31, 2004
Citation: BRUCKART, W.L., BERNER, D.K., CAESAR, A.J., WIDMER, T.L. PLANT PATHOLOGY AND BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF INVASIVE WEEDS. Biological Control of Invasive Plants in the United States. In Plant Pathology and Biological Control of Invasive Weeds. E.M. Combs, J.K. Clark, G.L. Piper, and A.F. Cofrancesco (EDS). Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, OR. 2004.

Interpretive Summary: Weeds get sick, and it may be possible to make weeds sick (or diseased) in order to control them. Most of the time, tiny molds and bacteria are used to do this. There are various ways to grow the molds and bacteria and to put them on the plant to start disease. This chapter tells what disease is, how it happens, how molds and other organisms can be used to control weeds, and where this has been successful. Also, there are new ideas about how molds and other organisms can be used in ways that don't seem practical at this time. One important way is to combine organisms that work together to make plants sicker than either one alone would. This is called "interaction" between organisms.

Technical Abstract: Disease is the result of a detrimental relationship between a host and either another organism or its environment. Weedy plants can become diseased, and there has been particular interest in using microbes to control them. This chapter emphasizes disease caused by microbial organisms, describing the concept of disease, how disease is caused, epidemiology and disease, the kinds of organisms cause disease, ways that organisms can be used for weed control, and how disease has been used to control invasive plants. Examples are provided to illustrate successes. Particular emphasis is given to interactions between pathogens or between pathogens and insects. There are two general approaches to the use of pathogens, the classical approach, involving introduction of an organism into a new area, and the bioherbicidal approach that involves application of the pathogen at high concentrations much like the way we apply chemical herbicides. Consideration is given to new or "out of the box" ideas, including the bioherbicide approach and organisms that interact with each other for control of rangeland weeds.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014