Submitted to: BARC Poster Day
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 25, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Fusarium wilt diseases can cause severe losses in a wide variety of crop plants. For several crops, including tomato, Fusarium wilt is generally controlled by fumigation with methyl bromide. The objective of this research is to develop effective biological control of Fusarium wilt of tomato as an alternative to fumigation with methyl bromide. Previously, our research identified several isolates of nonpathogenic Fusarium oxysporum that effectively controlled Fusarium wilt of tomato and other crops in greenhouse tests. To determine the suitability of selected isolates as biological control agents, the mechanisms of action, antagonist-pathogen inoculum density relationships, and efficacy in a variety of different soil types, against different races of the pathogen, and under different temperature regimes were studied. Some isolates were effective in controlling Fusarium wilt diseases at low antagonist inoculum densities, at up to very high pathogen densities, in a variety of differen soil types, and against all known races of the pathogen under a range of temperature conditions. Research is continuing through further evaluations of the mechanisms, conditions, and requirements for optimal biocontrol activity, combinations of antagonists, field tests, and improved formulations and delivery systems. This work indicates that effective biological control of Fusarium wilt diseases is feasible and, with further research, has potential as a viable alternative to chemical control.