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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research » Research » Research Project #441093

Research Project: Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation for Enhancing and Advancing the SustainabilitY of Organic Specialty Crop Production Systems (ASD-EASY Organic)

Location: Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research

Project Number: 6034-22000-046-003-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2021
End Date: Jun 30, 2025

The objective of this research is to apply anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) on organic strawberry and vegetable farms in Pennsylvania and Florida to determine if ASD can increase soil nutrients, manage soil pests and pathogens, and if ASD is economically feasible for organic growers. ASD is a non-chemical approach that manipulates soil microbes to control plant pathogens and pests and has shown to be an effective technique for Florida vegetable growers. Field trails and demonstrations will be conducted on certified organic land and with community stakeholders. A major portion of this research will be comparing the changes in the microbial populations in the northern versus southern US and to correlate microbial communities that assist in pathogen control, increased soil nutrients, soil chemistry, and plant health.

ARS will collaborate in the establishment of all field experiments conducted in Florida and will provide expertise and guidance for the Pennsylvania field trials. ARS will collect all of the soil and plant samples for the Florida field trials. These samples will be processed for nutrients and microbial DNA from the soil and rhizosphere. The 16s rDNA will be sequenced using an Illumina MiSeq and analyzed using the most current bioinformatics techniques. Plant pathogens will be quantified from the soil samples by using quantitative PCR, which will determine if the soil treatments are effective for managing soilborne plant pathogens and will identify strawberry-specific microbial communities that influence productivity.