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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Biocontrol of Monosporascus Cannonballus with Thricoderma Sp.

Authors
item Miller, M. - TEXAS A&M UNIVERSTIY
item Bruton, Benny

Submitted to: South Texas Melon Committee Annual Research Report
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Muskmelon is an important horticultural crop in the U.S. comprising more than 40,000 hectares at a value of approximately $125 million. Almost 90% of the production is in Arizona, California, and Texas. The soilborne pathogen Monosporascus cannonballus is the greatest yield-limiting factor to muskmelon production in these states causing severe losses in some years. Currently, there are no effective control measures for Monosporascus root rot/vine decline available and genetic resistance is inadequate in commercial cultivars. Biological control of Monosporascus root rot/vine decline of muskmelon provides a promising strategy to explore since biocontrol agents can colonize plant root systems and interact with the pathogens to suppress root diseases. Based on this concept, we attempted to determine the potential of a biocontrol agent, Trichoderma virens, for the control of Monosporascus root rot/vine decline of muskmelo plants. Prior studies have demonstrated that T. virens had both antibiotic and parasitic activity against M. cannonballus. Under greenhouse conditions, T. virens colonized muskmelon seedling root system, and reduced colonization of muskmelon roots by M. cannonballus, and significantly suppressed disease severity after a seed treatment with T. virens preparations. This is the first time that T. virens is demonstrated to have a potential for the control of root rot/vine decline of muskmelon. In the first years field trial, T. virens failed to provide adequate control the disease. However, further experiments are planned in order to more fully evaluate the potential of biocontrol for the disease.

Technical Abstract: Muskmelon is an important horticultural crop in the U.S. comprising more than 40,000 hectares at a value of approximately $125 million. Almost 90% of the production is in Arizona, California, and Texas. The soilborne pathogen Monosporascus cannonballus is the greatest yield-limiting factor to muskmelon production in these states causing severe losses in some years. Currently, there are no effective control measures for Monosporascus root rot/vine decline available and genetic resistance is inadequate in commercial cultivars. Thsis study was to determine the potential of a biocontrol agent, Trichoderma virens, for the control of Monosporascus root rot/vine decline of muskmelon plants. Prior studies have demonstrated that T. virens had both antibiotic and parasitic activity against M. cannonballus. Under greenhouse conditions, T. virens colonized muskmelon seedling root system, and reduced colonization of muskmelon root by M. cannonballus, and significantly suppressed disease severity after a seed treatment with T. virens preparations. This is the first time that T. virens is demonstrated to have a potential for the control of root rot/vine decline of muskmelon. In the first years field trial, T. virens failed to provide adequate control the disease. However, further experiments are planned in order to more fully evaluate the potential of biocontrol for the disease.

Last Modified: 12/25/2014
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