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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research » Research » Research Project #429819

Research Project: Employing New Tools to Detect and Limit Phytophthora Root Rot, Downy Mildew, and Other Key Pathogens of Floral Crops

Location: Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research

Project Number: 8062-22000-020-06-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 20, 2015
End Date: Sep 19, 2018

Greenhouse-grown floral crops are constantly threatened by a great variety of pathogenic microorganisms and arthropod pests. Growers need integrated management strategies incorporating cultural practices and a wide variety of effective pesticides to grow a quality crop at a reasonable price. Reduced risk and biological pesticides with novel/unique modes of action are particularly needed for rotation schemes designed to manage resistance and reduce inputs of hazardous chemicals into the environment. The overall objective of this cooperative research project is to develop new technologies and strategies for more effective management of diseases and insect pests of greenhouse floriculture crops. Specific objectives are to: 1) determine the susceptibility among coleus cultivars to downy mildew; 2) determine the host range and virulence of Phytophthora species that may infect floral crops within the Asteraceae, Fabaceae, and Solanaceae families; 3) characterize the efficacy of new active ingredients, including reduced-risk fungicides, biocontrol agents, or biopesticides against Botrytis cinerea, Thielaviopsis basicola, Phytophthora spp. (specifically to include P. nicotianae, P. cactorum, P. citricola, P. cryptogea, P. drechsleri, P. tropicalis, P. capsici), Pythium spp., Rhizoctonia solani, downy mildew pathogens, and powdery mildew pathogens; and 4) improve the integration of foliar plant disease management practices with biologically-based IPM programs being developed for insect pests.

Project objectives will be accomplished through establishment of an interdisciplinary research team that will pursue project objectives within the framework of our existing plant pathology research programs. Research will be conducted through close interaction with diverse growers throughout the United States. Research on new active ingredients and commercial products (including reduced risk fungicides and biopesticides) for control of Botrytis, Phytophthora, Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Thielaviopsis, downy mildew and powdery mildew pathogens will focus on identification of the most effective materials and determination of application rates, application intervals, and other factors that provide for highest and most consistent and reliable efficacy. Efficacy tests will be conducted in replicated research plots using susceptible crops. In collaboration with USDA-ARS researchers at Ithaca, NY, laboratory assays and small-scale greenhouse tests will assess compatibilities among fungicides used for control of foliar plant diseases and beneficial fungi (mycoinsecticides) used for insect pest management.