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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Application Technology Research

Title: An Integrated Approach to Biological Control of Fusarium in Containerized Crops

item Hoitink, Harry
item Locke, James

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/17/2010
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Although most soilborne diseases can be controlled by either chemicals, biological agents, suppressive cultural practices, or a combination of these, control of Fusarium wilt diseases continues to present a challenge especially in container plant production. Currently there are few effective fungicides that can be used as a drench, biocontrol agents are inconsistent, and cultural practices in container media are unpredictable in their effectiveness against Fusarium. This chapter reviews the literature on these approaches, including the approach of using various types of organic amendments as components of container media and then explores the use of broad spectrum natural disease suppression utilizing compost-amended potting media. The use of specific biocontrol agents, which induce systemic resistance in the crop, are used as an example to illustrate the reduction of secondary foliar disease when they are present in the compost. The role of nitrogen nutrition is also discussed since Fusarium diseases are increased by the presence of ammonium in the medium. The chapter suggests that an integrated approach utilizing suppressive composts is the most effective approach to controlling Fusarium and concludes with specific field-scale examples which demonstrate this approach.

Technical Abstract: Although considerable progress has been made in controlling soilborne plant pathogens utilizing traditional approaches, Fusarium wilts have presented an ongoing challenge. The lack of availability of effective fungicides, the limited effectiveness of biocontrol agents, and the general inconsistency of suppressive approaches suggests the need to evaluate broad spectrum, integrated approaches to successfully control Fusarium wilt diseases in potted crop production. This chapter reviews the limited literature that exists on the utilization of various biocontrol approaches, including the potential of various types of organic substrates, to control Fusarium wilt in container grown crops, and then details the knowledge that is accumulating on the utilization of broad spectrum natural disease suppression utilizing compost-amended potting mixes. The use of specific induced systemic resistance-active biocontrol agents to reduce secondary foliar disease severity of specific Fusarium diseases is discussed. The role of nitrogen-form in nutrition is also discussed in that Fusarium diseases are very responsive to ammonium ions in cultural practice. The chapter concludes with specific examples of field-scale trials which demonstrate the effectiveness of an integrated approach utilizing suppressive composts in the growing medium to control diseases caused by Fusarium.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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