Submitted to: Plant Health Progress
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2006
Publication Date: 10/1/2006
Citation: Abbas, H.K., Bruns, H.A., Abel, C.A. 2006. Influence of Messenger on Corn and Mycotoxins in Mississippi. Plant Health Progress. 10.1094/PHP-2006-10XX-01-RS.
Technical Abstract: Messenger is a bacterial protein called 'Harpin' which can be isolated from certain plant pathogenic bacteria such as Erwinia amylovora and Pseudomonas syringae. Messenger has been reported to enhance yield and quality of many plants including corn (Zea may L.), rice (Oryza sativa L.), cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), and strawberry (Fragaria virginiana Duchesne). Because Messenger is also reported to increase resistance to plant diseases, we tested corn treated with the protein to determine if it might protect against Aspergillus and Fusarium ear rot diseases and decrease the accumulation of aflatoxins and fumonisins. This study was conducted two years in the field at two different locations near the Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center at Stoneville, Mississippi. Pioneer Hi-Bred brand 32R25, a locally-adapted corn hybrid, was planted in April 2002 and 2003 at both locations. The experimental design was a RCB with 4 replications. The corn was inoculated with Aspergillus flavus strain F3W4, which produces large amounts of aflatoxins. The fungus was formulated on autoclaved wheat kernels and applied to the soil surface at 20 lbs/A between the 4 center rows of 6-row plots at growth stage V5 - V6. Fusarium verticillioides infected the corn naturally. Messenger was sprayed on top corn leaves at rate of 2.25 oz/A at V1 - V2 and V5 - V6 leaf stages. Six treatments were applied using a CO2 pressurized backpack sprayer delivering 10 gal/ A (20 psi). The treatments were: 1) MES 2.25 oz/A, at V1 - V2 growth stage; 2) MES 2.25 oz/A, at V1 - V2 growth stage plus fungal inoculum (20 lbs/A); 3) MES 2.25 oz/A, at V5 - V6 growth stage; 4) MES 2.25 oz/A, at V1 - V2 growth stage plus fungal inoculum (20 lbs/A); 5) Untreated control; and 6) Treated control with fungal inoculum (20 lbs/A). Statistical analysis showed no significant differences in yield. Messenger had no effect on the level of aflatoxins or fumonisins or their respective fungi. In conclusion, the 2002 and 2003 trials in two locations showed that Messenger did not increase corn yields or corn quality. The variation noticed within the treatments is normal for yield and grain quality in a small plot test area. Key words: Corn (maize, Zea mays L.), natural product, messenger, bacterial protein, Aspergillus flavus, Fusarium verticillioides, aflatoxin, fumonisin, mycotoxin, yield.