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POSTERS: Biological control

Biological control of sorghum anthracnose in Sub-Saharan Africa
Esther Gachango - AgBiome, Inc. David Ingham- AgBiome, Inc, Robin Dale- AgBiome, Inc, Mathias Twizeyimana- AgBiome, Inc, James Sievert- AgBiome, Inc, Kestrel Mccorkle- AgBiome, Inc, Matthew Biggs- AgBiome, Inc, Moses Biruma- National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI), Ser

Sorghum anthracnose, caused by Colletotrichum sublineolum Hann. Kabát et Bub., is one of the most destructive foliar diseases of cultivated sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.), Moench] in Africa. The current available management strategy includes use of resistant cultivars and synthetic fungicides. However, high variability in the C. sublineolum population frequently overcomes host resistance, yet fungicides are expensive especially to smallholder farmers, besides being hazardous to the environment. Therefore, alternative methods for managing this disease that are easily accessible and less costly to farmers are needed. Biological control of agricultural pests is a promising solution in many areas, posing no risk of exposure compared to synthetic pesticides. AgBiome undertakes research aimed at identifying microbial-based solutions for agricultural pests by leveraging a diverse and growing collection of fully sequenced microbes from the plant-soil microbiome. Accordingly, bioinformatic tools were deployed to prioritize strains with diverse activity and, in parallel, strains were chosen randomly from our collection. Laboratory studies using a detached-leaf disk assay on sorghum, cultivar. 12-GS9016-KS585, with over 400 strains gave promising results. Several strains that were most effective in the lab against C. sublineolum are being further evaluated in Uganda under greenhouse and field trials.