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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #324274

Research Project: Alternatives to Methyl Bromide Soil Fumigation for Vegetable and Floriculture Production

Location: Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research

Title: The effects of anaerobic soil disinfestation on weed and nematode control, fruit yield and quality of Florida fresh-market tomato

Author
item Di Gioia, Francesco - University Of Florida
item Ozores-hampton, Monica - University Of Florida
item Hong, Jason
item Burelle, Nancy
item Albano, Joseph
item Zhao, Xin - University Of Florida
item Gao, Zhifeng - University Of Florida
item Wilson, Chris - University Of Florida
item Thomas, John - University Of Florida
item Monaghan, Kelly - University Of Florida
item Swisher, Marilyn - University Of Florida
item Guo, Haichao - University Of Florida
item Black, Zack - University Of Florida
item Rosskopf, Erin

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/9/2016
Publication Date: 6/1/2016
Citation: Di Gioia, F., Ozores-Hampton, M., Hong, J.C., Burelle, N.K., Albano, J.P., Zhao, X., Gao, Z., Wilson, C., Thomas, J., Monaghan, K., Swisher, M., Guo, H., Black, Z., Rosskopf, E.N. 2016. The effects of anaerobic soil disinfestation on weed and nematode control, fruit yield and quality of Florida fresh-market tomato. HortScience. 51(6):703-711.

Interpretive Summary: Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) is touted as a potential alternative to the use of methyl bromide as pre-plant treatment for controlling soil-borne pathogens, nematodes and weeds. ASD is a biologically-based soil health management technique that incorporates amending the soil with composted broiler litter and molasses, tarping the soil with a plastic mulch, and saturating the soil with water. Previous research using ASD has shown that it was as effective as methyl bromide for controlling soil pathogens, nematodes, and weeds. However, research regarding the effect ASD has on tomato fruit quality and yield has not been determined. Field trials were conducted in two locations in the state of Florida, Immokalee, southwestern FL, and Citra, north central FL. At both locations ASD was applied with a mix of composted poultry litter (CPL) at the rate of 22 Mg ha-1, and two rates of molasses [13.9 (ASD1) and 27.7 m3 ha-1 (ASD2)] as a carbon source. The ASD treatments were compared to the growers' standard practice chemical soil fumigant, which consisted of Pic-Clor 60 (1,3-dichloropropene + chloropicrin) in Immokalee and Paladin™ (dimethyl-disulfide + chloropicrin) in Citra. Comparing weed control the growers' standard in Immokalee performed better than either ASD treatment, in Citra weed pressure was very high and none of the treatments were effective. In both locations ASD provided equivalent or more effective nematode control in comparison to the growers' standard. Tomato yield was similar for all the treatments in Citra, yet in Immokalee ASD2 and ASD1 provided 26.7% and 19.7% higher total season marketable yield.

Technical Abstract: Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) is considered a promising sustainable alternative to chemical soil fumigation (CSF), and has been shown to be effective against soil-borne diseases, plant-parasitic nematodes, and weeds in several crop production systems. Nevertheless, limited information is available on the effects of ASD on crop yield and quality. Therefore, a field study was conducted on fresh market tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) in two different locations in Florida (Immokalee and Citra), to evaluate and compare the ASD and CSF performances on weed and nematodes control, and fruit yield and quality. Two different products were used for the conventional CSF [Pic-Clor 60 (1,3-dichloropropene + chloropicrin) in Immokalee and Paladin™ (dimethyl-disulfide + chloropicrin) in Citra]. Anaerobic soil disinfestation treatments were applied using a mix of composted poultry litter (CPL) at the rate of 22 Mg ha-1, and two rates of molasses [13.9 (ASD1) and 27.7 m3 ha-1 (ASD2)] as a carbon source. In both locations, soil subjected to ASD reached highly anaerobic conditions, and cumulative anaerobicity was 167% and 116% higher in ASD2 plots than in ASD1 plots, in Immokalee and Citra, respectively. In Immokalee, the CSF provided the most significant weed control, but ASD treatments also suppressed weeds enough to prevent impact on yield. In Citra, all treatments, including the CSF provided poor weed control relative to the Immokalee site. In both locations, the application of ASD provided a level of root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.) control equivalent to, or more effective than the CSF. In Immokalee, plots subjected to ASD2 and ASD1 provided 26.7% and 19.7% higher total season marketable yield as compared to CSF plots, respectively. However, in Citra, total season marketable yield was not affected by soil treatments. Tomato fruit quality parameters were not influenced by soil treatments, except the fruit firmness in Immokalee, which was significantly higher in fruits from ASD treatments than in those from CSF soil. Fruit mineral content was similar or higher in ASD plots as compared to CSF. In fresh-market tomato ASD applied using a mixture of CPL and molasses as carbon source, may be a sustainable alternative to CSF, and can provide marketable yield and fruit quality equivalent or higher than CSF control.