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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #69479


item Fravel, Deborah
item Larkin, Robert - Bob

Submitted to: Biological and Cultural Tests for Control of Plant Diseases
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/23/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: This article presents an overview of commercially available biocontrol products. The loss of methyl bromide and other important chemical pesticides, as well as the need for environmentally benign plant disease control measures, have stimulated interest in development of beneficial microbes. There are now approximately 40 biocontrol products available worldwide for control of many diverse pathogens. These products are liste in this article. At least 27 genera of fungi, 3 genera of bacteria, and 4 genera of nematodes are targeted for control by these products. More than half of these products control soilborne fungi. The biocontrol agents themselves are also diverse and include at least 9 genera of fungi, 4 genera of bacteria, and one actinomycete. Biocontrol products are used on a great variety of crops including greenhouse crops, row crops, field crops, perennial field crops, and trees and wood, and in special cropping systems such as mushroom cultivation. The products are applied in many ways. They may be sprayed onto plants or harvested fruits, drenched on harvested fruit or on plants, incorporated into the soil, applied as root dips, used to treat seeds, or inserted into trees or wood products. Future research should focus on finding new biocontrol agents, understanding the mechanisms of biocontrol, and integrating biocontrol into production systems. This information will be used by scientists and extension personnel developing environmentally benign disease control systems.

Technical Abstract: The loss of methyl bromide as a control measure for soilborne plant pathogens will have a great impact on certain industries including production of tomatoes in Florida and of strawberries in California. In the immediate future, this need can be addressed with combinations of fumigants such as metham sodium or chloropicrin, and with herbicides, insecticides and nematicides. Management of disease problems in other cropping systems also relies heavily on chemical control measures. Over time many of these compounds will probably also be removed from the market due to health, safety and environmental concerns. Consequently, there is a need to develop more sustainable production systems with minimal chemical input. In addition, there are many disease problems in other production systems for which chemical controls are not uniformly effective, not available or are not economically feasible. Biocontrol can be an important tcomponent of disease management for all these systems.