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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Formulation of Microorganisms to Control Plant Diseases

Authors
item Fravel, Deborah
item Connick Jr, William
item Lewis, Jack

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 4, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Concerns about the fate of chemical pesticides in the environment and the withdrawal of many pesticides from the market have stimulated development of beneficial microorganisms for control of plant pathogens. This book chapter discusses formulation of commercially available biocontrol agents for control of plant pathogens and research on the development of these agents. Formulation of these biocontrol agents influences the quality of the product in several ways. It stabilizes the product for storage until needed by providing adequate shelf life. It makes a biocontrol agent convenient to use, safe to handle, and may provide a food base to help the biocontrol agent become established where needed. Choice of type of formulation depends on the delivery target, biology and ecology of the biocontrol agent, pathogen and host, and the cropping system. For example, a granular material would be appropriate for distributing in furrow or for incorporation into a horticultural potting mix, while a wettable powder would be suspended in water for drenches or root dips. Beyond these considerations other desirable characteristics of a formulation include compatibility with agricultural machinery, ease of integration into a pest management system, and cost to produce and purchase. This information will be used by scientists developing new formulations and by industry involved in scaling up laboratory findings to produce industrial quantities of biocontrol agents in appropriate formulations.

Technical Abstract: Plant pathogenic fungi, bacteria, nematodes and other organisms cause serious crop losses each year. Chemical pesticides applied to control these pathogens sometimes have undesirable effects on organisms in the environment other than the intended target. Some chemicals, such as methyl bromide, are being withdrawn from the market, while for some pathogens, no chemical control is available. Beneficial microbes offer an alternative t chemical pesticides or they may be used to augment chemicals applied at reduced rates. One of the obstacles in the development of biopesticides is the formulation of living organisms. The formulation can affect many aspects of the product including shelf life, the ease of application, and efficacy. This book chapter discusses formulations currently being used in various countries, as well as processes that might be adapted for use with beneficial microbes. Addresses and phone numbers of manufacturers are listed. This information will be used by scientists developing beneficial microbes for practical use in controlling plant pathogens.

Last Modified: 7/30/2014