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Efficacy of biochar in the management of anthracnose disease of pepper

Adefoyeke Aduramigba-Modupe: University of Ibadan

<div>Anthracnose disease of pepper caused by <em>Colletotrichum capsici</em> is a potentially devastating disease in most regions where pepper is grown. There is an urgent need to promote cost effective and ecologically-friendly method in the disease management; biochar (a soil amendment) has been used to control many soil borne diseases. This research evaluated the efficacy of biochar produced from Maize Cob (MC) and Locust Bean Waste (LBW) at 4000C to suppress anthracnose disease of two pepper varieties (<em>Capsicum annuum</em> and C. <em>frutescens</em>). Biochar at four rates of 0, 5, 10 and 15 t/ha were incorporated into 5 kg sterilized soil per pot, and replicated four times in a completely randomized design. Three weeks old pepper seedlings were transplanted into each pot and inoculated with spore suspension (1 x 106 mL-1) of <em>C. capsici</em> grown on PDA using sterile distilled water. The data showed that amendment with 15 t/ha LBW biochar enhanced the growth of the two pepper varieties by 30% in contrast to similar rate with MC. The incidence of anthracnose disease was significantly suppressed (30 to 45%) with 5t/ha compared to higher biochar rates with MC being superior. Biochar at 15t/ha was between 60 and 80% effective in the management of anthracnose disease of C. <em>annum</em>; while 5t/ha effectively reduced disease progression and severity in C. <em>frutescence</em> within the same range. We concluded therefore that, biochar soil amendment was effective in anthracnose disease suppression in pepper.</div>