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Long-Term Biosanitation by Application of Coniothyrium minitans on Sclerotinia sclerotiorum-Infected Crops

February 1999 , Volume 89 , Number  2
Pages  141 - 147

M. Gerlagh , H. M. Goossen-van de Geijn , N. J. Fokkema , and P. F. G. Vereijken

First, second, and third authors: DLO Research Institute for Plant Protection, IPO-DLO, P.O. Box 9060, 6700 GW Wageningen, the Netherlands; fourth author: Centre for Biometry Wageningen, CPRO-DLO, P.O. Box 16, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands

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Accepted for publication 26 October 1998.

The effect of the fungal mycoparasite Coniothyrium minitans applied as a spray to crops infected with Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (causal agent of white mold) on contamination of soil with S. sclerotiorum sclerotia was studied in a 5-year field experiment. Sclerotial survival also was monitored during two subsequent years, when the field was returned to commercial agriculture. In a randomized block design, factorial combinations of four crops and three treatments were repeated 10 times. Potato (Solanum tuberosum), bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), carrot (Daucus carota), and chicory (Cichorium intybus), which are all susceptible to S. sclerotiorum, were grown in rotation. Plots were treated with C. minitans or Trichoderma spp. or were nontreated (control). Crops were rotated in each plot, but treatments were applied to the same plot every year. After 3 years during which it showed no effect on sclerotial survival, the Trichoderma spp. treatment was replaced by a single spray with C. minitans during the fourth and fifth years of the trial. The effect of treatments was monitored in subsequent seasons by counting apothecia as a measure of surviving S. sclerotiorum sclerotia and scoring disease incidence. Trichoderma spp. did not suppress S. sclerotiorum, but C. minitans infected at least 90% of S. sclerotiorum sclerotia on treated crops by the end of the each season. C. minitans lowered the number of apothecia compared with the other treatments during the second year after the bean crop. C. minitans reduced the number of apothecia by ≈90% when compared with the control and Trichoderma spp. treatments and reduced disease incidence in the bean crop by 50% during the fifth year of the trial, resulting in a slightly higher yield. In 1993, but not 1994, a single spray with C. minitans was nearly as effective at reducing apothecia as three sprays (monitored in 1995). The final population size of sclerotia in soil at the end of the 7-year period was lower in all C. minitans plots than at the beginning of the trial, even in plots where two highly susceptible bean crops were grown during the period. The results indicate that the mycoparasite C. minitans has the potential to keep contamination of soil with sclerotia low in crop rotations with a high number of crops susceptible to S. sclerotiorum.

© 1999 The American Phytopathological Society