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Effects of Varying Environmental Conditions on Biological Control of Fusarium Wilt of Tomato by Nonpathogenic Fusarium spp.

November 2002 , Volume 92 , Number  11
Pages  1,160 - 1,166

Robert P. Larkin and Deborah R. Fravel

First author: USDA-ARS, New England Plant, Soil, and Water Lab, Orono, ME 04469; and second author: USDA-ARS, Vegetable Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705

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Accepted for publication 16 July 2002.

The influence of varying environmental and cropping conditions including temperature, light, soil type, pathogen isolate and race, and cultivar of tomato on biological control of Fusarium wilt of tomato by isolates of nonpathogenic Fusarium oxysporum (CS-20 and CS-24) and F. solani (CS-1) was evaluated in greenhouse and growth chamber experiments. Liquid spore suspensions (106/ml) of the biocontrol isolates were applied to soilless potting mix at the time of tomato seeding, and the seedlings were transplanted into pathogen-infested field soil 2 weeks later. Temperature regimes ranging from 22 to 32°C significantly affected disease development and plant physiological parameters. Biocontrol isolate CS-20 significantly reduced disease at all temperature regimes tested, yielding reductions of disease incidence of 59 to 100% relative to pathogen control treatments. Isolates CS-24 and CS-1 reduced disease incidence in the greenhouse and at high temperatures, but were less effective at the optimum temperature for disease development (27°C). Growing plants under shade (50% of full light) versus full light affected some plant growth parameters, but did not affect the efficacy of biocontrol of any of the three bio-control isolates. Isolate CS-20 effectively reduced disease incidence (56 to 79% reduction) in four different field soils varying in texture (sandy to clayey) and organic matter content (0 to 3.2%). Isolate CS-1 reduced disease in the sandy and loamy soils (49 to 66% reduction), but was not effective in a heavy clay soil. Both CS-1 and CS-20 were equally effective against all three races of the pathogen, as well as multiple isolates of each race (48 to 66% reduction in disease incidence). Both isolates, CS-1 and CS-20, were equally effective in reducing disease incidence (66 to 80% reduction) by pathogenic races 1, 2, and 3 on eight different tomato cultivars containing varying levels of inherent resistance to Fusarium wilt (susceptible, resistant to race 1, or resistant to races 1 and 2). These results demonstrate that both these Fusarium isolates, and particularly CS-20, can effectively reduce Fusarium wilt disease of tomato under a variety of environmental conditions and have potential for further development.

Additional keywords:: F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici, induced systemic resistence, wilt suppression.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2002