Live plants, particularly when accompanied by soil or potting substrates, are considered the main pathway for international spread of plant pathogens. Modern, rapid shipping technologies for international plant trade increase the probability of plant pathogen survival during transport and the subsequent chances of disease outbreaks in new locations. The survival of two model pathogens, an Oomycete, Phytophthora cinnamomi, and a filamentous fungus, Fusarium verticillioides, was studied in two different commercial potting substrates (peat and peat-free) under glasshouse conditions in the absence of a plant host. Survival rates were analysed at 2, 7, 12 and 17 months after substrate inoculation. Fusarium verticillioides had the longest survival rate, and was still present at 17 months. In contrast, P. cinnamomi survived up to 7 months but was not recovered after 12 or 17 months. There was no significant difference in the number of colony-forming units (CFUs) of either pathogen in the two substrates, except at 2 months, when higher numbers were recovered from peat substrates.
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