Infested container nursery beds are an important source of soilborne Phytophthora spp. for initiating disease through movement with surface water or splashing onto foliage. We investigated the effects of soil solarization, alone or with subsequent amendment with a Trichoderma asperellum biocontrol agent, on the survival of Phytophthora spp. inoculum. In field trials conducted with Phytophthora ramorum in San Rafael, CA and with P. pini in Corvallis, OR, infested rhododendron leaf inoculum was buried at 5, 15, and 30 cm below the soil surface. Solarization for 2 or 4 weeks during summer 2012 eliminated recovery of Phytophthora spp. buried at all depths in California trial 1, at 5 and 15 cm in California trial 2, but only at 5 cm in Oregon. There was no significant reduction of Phytophthora spp. recovery after T. asperellum application. Although the population densities of the introduced T. asperellum at the 5-cm depth were often two- to fourfold higher in solarized compared with nonsolarized plots, they were not significantly different (P = 0.052). Soil solarization appears to be a promising technique for disinfesting the upper layer of soil in container nurseries under certain conditions.
SummaryThis study aims to develop a biocontrol agent against Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. radicis-lycopersici (FORL) in tomato. For this, a set of 23 bacterial endophytic isolates has been screened for their ability to inhibit in vitro the growth of FORL using the dual plate assay. Three isolates with the most sound antagonistic activity to FORL have been qualitatively screened for siderophore production, phosphates solubilization and indolic acetic acid (IAA) synthesis as growth promotion traits. Antagonistic values of the three candidates against FORL were respectively: 51.51 % (EB4B), 51.18 % (EB22K) and 41.40 % (EB2A). Based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, the isolates EB4B and EB22K were closely related to Enterobacter ludwigii EN-119, while the strain EB2A has been assigned to Leclercia adecarboxylata NBRC 102595. The promotion of tomato growth has been assessed in vitro using the strains EB2A, EB4B and EB22K in presence of the phytopathogen FORL. The treatments with the selected isolates increased significantly the root length and dry weight. Best results were observed in isolate EB4B in terms of growth promotion in the absence of FORL, improving 326.60 % of the root length and 142.70 % of plant dry weight if compared with untreated controls. In the presence of FORL, the strain EB4B improved both root length (180.81 %) and plant dry weight (202.15 %). These results encourage further characterization of the observed beneficial effect of Enterobacter sp. EB4B for a possible use as biofertilizer and biocontrol agent against FORL.
Spiny snout mite (Neomolgus capillatus) is a potential biocontrol agent for clover flea (Sminthurus viridis) a white clover pest on dairy farms in warmer and wetter parts of New Zealand In the 1990s this mite was introduced from Brittany France into Tasmania for clover flea control Results during the release programme were highly promising and subsequent anecdotal farmer reports indicate widespread decreases in damage As N capillatus is a predatory mite and already known to attack nontarget organisms habitat specificity will determine whether it could be introduced into New Zealand without risk to native insects To assess this pastures on nine of the original Tasmanian release farms and adjacent nontarget habitats ranging from bush wetlands eucalypt stands to sand dune country were sampled in April 2014 Litter samples were collected heat extracted and mite species identified Neomolgus capillatus was found at effective densities in pastures that had good clover cover Where present it displaced Bdellodes spp mites that are ineffective against clover flea No N capillatus were found in the nontarget habitats all of which lacked clover and contained other predatory mites including Bdellodes spp Therefore the preference by N capillatus for lush pastures makes it an excellent prospect for introduction as a biocontrol agent into clover flea prone regions of New Zealand
Continuous and non-judicial application of synthetic insecticides to control the tea thrips, Scirtothrips bispinosus (Bagnall), one of the major tea pests in South India has led to certain undesirable issues in the ecosystem besides the presence of the pesticide residues in manufactured tea. Biological control agents are of immense importance in tea cultivation. The present study was designed to isolate Lecanicillium lecanii (Zimmermann) Zare & Gama from the field-collected cadavers of the insects/mites infected by fungi of tea growing areas of Anamallais (Tamil Nadu, South India), and to evaluate their field bio-efficacy against the tea thrips.
Lecanicillium lecanii isolated from the tea ecosystem had been formulated into a wettable powder (WP) formulation and evaluated against tea thrips under both laboratory and field conditions. Among the several media evaluated, the PDAY (Potato Dextrose Agar + 1% Yeast powder) was found to be the best suitable medium for the growth and germination of spores. Optimum conditions for the growth of L. lecanii were found in PDAY medium at the pH 6-7, temperature 25-30°C and 90-95% RH. Exposure to UV light for more than 30 min significantly inhibited the growth of the fungus. Lecanicillium lecanii at (1 × 107 spore/ha) was found significantly effective against thrips. Fungal development index (FDI) of L. lecanii + jaggery significantly differed than other treatments. Lecanicillium lecanii at 1500g (1×107 conidia/ml) mixed in 400 l of water was effective against the tea thrips. Addition of equal amount of jaggery with L. lecanii wettable powder in the tank mixture could increase the efficacy of the mycopesticide against tea thrips.
The powder formulation of L. lecanii was found safer to natural enemies present in the tea ecosystem. After fulfilling the requirements for its registration and label claim on tea, this strain of L. lecanii could be commercialized for the benefit of the tea industry for the management of tea thrips in an eco-friendly manner.
Development, survival and reproduction of Ambyseius andersoni (Chant), a predatory mite widely distributed in Europe, were assessed on different food items. These included two key pests of ornamental coniferous plants, i.e., Oligonychus ununguis (Jacobi) and Pentamerismus taxi (Haller) and pollen of Pinus sylvestris L. The rationale behind these experiments was to provide a preliminary assessment of the potential of A. andersoni as a biocontrol agent of the above phytophagous arthropods and evaluate pine pollen as an alternative food source for the predator. Under laboratory conditions (23 ± 0.5 °C, 70 ± 10% RH and 16L:8D) A. andersoni was able to feed, develop and reproduce on all tested diets. The shortest development time (egg to female) was obtained when the predator fed on P. taxi (mean = 5.12 d) and the longest was on pine pollen (mean = 6.55 d). The rm value was significantly higher on both tested prey (0.166 on P. taxi and 0.160 on O. ununguis) than on pollen (0.139). Thus, we do not recommend pine pollen for mass rearing of A. andersoni; however, we conclude that pollen may provide sufficient sustenance for the predator population under field conditions when prey are absent. The potential of A. andersoni as a biocontrol agent of O. ununguis and P. taxi is discussed.