A series of chemical and biological control agents were tested for compatibility with the Rhizoctonia-specific biocontrol fungus Verticillium biguttatum aimed at designing novel control strategies for black scurf (Rhizoctonia solani) and other tuber diseases in potato. The efficacy of chemicals, alone and in combination with V. biguttatum was tested in in vitro assays on nutrient agar plates, in bio-assays with minitubers and in the field. Generally, there were both antagonistic, neutral and additive interactions with V. biguttatum among the combinations tested; there were no indications for synergistic interactions. Broad-spectrum fungicides (azoxystrobin, chlorothalonil, thiabendazole) were fungitoxic to V. biguttatum as shown in in vitro assays, and hampered black scurf control by V. biguttatum in bio-assays. Oomycete-specific chemicals (cymoxanil and propamocarb) and various biocontrol strains (Gliocladium spp., Pseudomonas spp. and Trichoderma spp.) did not interfere with the growth of V. biguttatum on agar nutrient plates and did not affect black scurf control by V. biguttatum in co-applied treatments in the minituber bio-assay. Rhizoctonia-specific (pencycuron, flutalonil) fungicides co-applied with V. biguttatum showed additive effects on black scurf control. When combinations of V. biguttatum and cymoxanil or propamocarb were applied to immature potato tubers at green crop lifting, a reduction of both black scurf and Pythium- or Phytophthora-incited tuber rot was observed at harvest. In conclusion, the biocontrol fungus V. biguttatum is compatible with selected chemical control systems and may improve control efficacy in combination with Rhizoctonia-specific fungicides or may extend control spectrum in combination with Oomycete-specific fungicides.
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