Submitted to: Annual National Potato Council Seed Seminar
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 5, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Gibberella pulicaris (Fries) Sacc. (anamorph: Fusarium sambucinum Fuckel) is one of the primary causal agents of Fusarium dry rot of stored potatoes worldwide. This fungus is responsible for extensive losses in tuber quality and marketable tubers. Several Gram-negative bacterial strains were discovered at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) that effectively reduced dry rot in laboratory studies. We demonstrated the commercial development potential of these strains in pilot studies at the University of Idaho's Kimberly Research and Extension Center and in bin trials at storage houses in Idaho and North Dakota. Dry rot symptoms were reduced by bacterial antagonists by as much as 30%. Strategies and organisms for biologically controlling Fusarium dry rot continue to be developed at NCAUR where we found specific pairs of bacterial antagonists that reduced dry rot disease by 70% vs. controls when used at 1/100 the standard dose. Antagonist dose/disease response relationships and antibiotic production by selected antagonists have been characterized. The successful commercialization of a microorganism that biologically controls plant disease has many prerequisites. These include a) consistent, economically significant disease control, b) end user need for the product, c) product safety for the end user and the environment, d) a reasonable shelf life for the formulated microbial product and e) product protection via proprietary information and/or patents. Through cooperation, development of a biological control product for managing Fusarium dry rot is feasible.