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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Subtropical Plant Pathology Research » Research » Research Project #419986

Research Project: Advanced Development and Implementation of Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation Technology as an Alternative to Methyl Bromide

Location: Subtropical Plant Pathology Research

2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Expand on-going research to determine the most effective methods of applying anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) as an alternative to MeBr for control of key soilborne pathogens, plant pathogenic nematodes, and weeds. Impacts on crop yields, soil chemical and physical properties, and soil microbial communities will also be evaluated in raised bed and flat applications.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Multiple greenhouse, growth chamber, and field-scale trials will be conducted to determine if temperature plays a role in establishing the level of anaerobicity required to have an impact on weeds, nematodes, and plant pathogenic fungi; optimize tarp selection for maximum Eh and practicality; and evaluate summer cover crops as carbon sources for initiating treatments of ASD in a bell pepper-eggplant double crop. The ability to do ASD for production of crops that normally utilize flat fumigation, such as in-ground ornamentals, will also be determined in field trials. All trials will be replicated randomized complete block design in order to assess the impacts of all treatment combinations on multiple pests. The optimized system for ASD for flat and raised beds will be transferred to growers through field days and on-farm grower cooperator demonstration trials.

3. Progress Report
This project is related to in-house objective 1: Identify impact of pest management tactics on functional diversity of soil microflora and weed populations, their competitive interactions, and effects on crop health. Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD), a non-chemical alternative to methyl bromide (MeBr), was developed in Japan and the Netherlands where it is used to control soilborne pathogens and nematodes in strawberries and vegetables. The ASD system can be utilized in urbanized areas where buffer restrictions would limit the applicability of alternative fumigants and, unlike many other biologically-based alternatives, has a broad-spectrum of activity, impacting most pests that are currently controlled by MeBr:chloropicrin combinations. In addition, this work will allow transfer of this technology to multiple cropping systems in many geographic locations and across differing soil types and environmental conditions. In a previously funded project, we confirmed the potential of ASD in Florida vegetable and coastal California strawberry production. To further that work, the goals of this project are threefold: 1) to build on previous efforts and further extend ASD for broad-spectrum control of soilborne pathogens, parasitic-nematodes, and weeds; 2) to gather additional data in tightly-controlled experiments to allow ASD to be effectively modeled and implemented across diverse local environmental conditions, production systems, and available inputs; and 3) to demonstrate the effectiveness of ASD in commercial-scale demonstration trials with production of a variety of economically important crops in Tennessee, Florida, and California to facilitate adoption of ASD by United States growers who are currently using MeBr. To meet these goals, a team of multidisciplinary researchers and extension specialists from multiple institutions are working with growers and advisory groups on project design, data interpretation, and grower implementation and outreach.

4. Accomplishments