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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 #415390

Research Project: Enhancing Vegetable and Ornamental Production by Synergistically Managing Nutrients and Pests

Location: Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research

Title: Integrating anaerobic soil disinfestation in organic small fruit and vegetable production systems

item DI GIOIA, FRANCESCO - Pennsylvania State University
item Hong, Jason
item ZHAO, XIN - Pennsylvania State University
item XU, NAN - Pennsylvania State University
item ONO-RAPHEL, JOE - Pennsylvania State University
item MORRISON, BEN - Pennsylvania State University
item BALAGUER, RAYMOND - Pennsylvania State University
item ROMANO, CATERINA - Pennsylvania State University
item ARRINGTON, KATHLEEN - Pennsylvania State University
item MOREIRA CALIX, DAVID - University Of Florida
item DESAEGER, JOHAN - University Of Florida
item DINI-ANDREOTE, FRANCISCO - Pennsylvania State University
item SCHMIDT, CLAUDIA - Pennsylvania State University
item GAO, ZHIFENG - University Of Florida
item CHALAM, RADHIKA - Pennsylvania State University
item FRONK, LEAH - Pennsylvania State University
item FORD, THOMAS - Pennsylvania State University
item ELKNER, TIMOTHY - Pennsylvania State University
item GOODIEL, YVETTE - University Of Florida
item DEMCHAK, KATHLEEN - Pennsylvania State University
item FORMIGA, ALICE - Oregon State University
item GUGINO, BETH - Pennsylvania State University
item KAYE, JASON - Pennsylvania State University
item Rosskopf, Erin

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/17/2024
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The use of chemical soil fumigants has allowed crop production to prosper in the face of continuous pressure from soilborne plant pathogenic fungi, bacteria, nematodes, and weeds. Crop losses from these biotic stresses amount to the loss of billions of dollars worldwide, making soil disinfestation and important crop production tool. As a result of environmental damage documentation and increased regulatory restrictions, the use of chemical soil fumigants is under scrutiny and the most commonly used fumigant for the last 50 years, methyl bromide, is no longer available. The loss of these chemicals has resulted in a shift in thinking concerning soilborne pest suppression leading to a greater understanding of soil microbiome and how it is impacted by the use of organic amendments and physical soil disinfestation practices for pest control.

Technical Abstract: Soilborne pests and pathogens represent major challenges for soil-based production systems, causing annual crop losses of billions of dollars globally. Over the last century, the management of soilborne pests and pathogens has been accomplished primarily through the use of pre-planting chemical soil fumigants, with little attention paid to soil health and environmental sustainability. Providing a brief historical perspective on soil disinfestation and its evolution, in this work we discuss how the 2005 phase out of methyl bromide (MeBr, CH3Br), the most popular broad-spectrum, soil fumigant used worldwide for over five decades, and the consequent search for more sustainable soil disinfestation practices led to the advancement of new organic amendment-based soil management tactics and to a better understanding of the role soil health plays in the suppression of soilborne pests and pathogens and crop performance. We discuss how new knowledge and the adoption of advanced organic amendment-based soil management strategies, like anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD), are establishing a paradigm shift, reducing the dependence on toxic chemicals for soil disinfestation, and realigning the focus on the importance of nourishing soil microbes to generate pest and pathogen suppressive soils. Finally, we discuss current research and extension efforts and the main challenges and opportunities associated with the adoption of organic amendment-based soil management tactics at a commercial scale.