Submitted to: Proceedings of International Research Conference on Methyl Bromide Alternatives
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 7, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Because of its role in destruction of the ozone layer, the use of methyl bromide is being phased out. In agriculture, methyl bromide is used as a preplant soil fumigant to control a wide variety of plant pests, including plant pathogenic bacteria and fungi, nematodes and weeds. Six permanent scientists at USDA, ARS, Beltsville, MD have been redirected to work on this critical problem. The scientists represent plant pathology, soil science, microbiology, and nematology. Alternatives to methyl bromide that are being investigated include chemical control, the use of beneficial microbes to control pathogens (biological control), the use of botanicals (such as neem oil), physical methods (such as heat), and combinations of these. The crops being studied are those on which the most methyl bromide is used - tomato, strawberry, ornamentals and others. Titles of the projects are: 1) Methyl bromide alternatives for management of soilborne pathogens in ornamental crops, 2) Biological and integrated controls as alternatives to methyl bromide of soilborne wilt pathogens, 3) Biocontrol of soilborne plant pathogens using natural attributes of microbes and their environments, 4) Basis of spermosphere and rhizosphere competence of plant beneficial bacteria, and 5) Identification, metabolism, and bioreactivity of hormones and other bioregulators of nematodes. The projects range from basic research to actual field use of new strategies. Information generated from this research will be used to develop reliable control strategies for plant disease problems without using methyl bromide.