Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, K. W. Neatby Building, 960 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0C6
Pea root rot complex (PRRC), caused by Alternaria alternata, Aphanomyces euteiches, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. pisi, F. solani f. sp. pisi, Mycosphaerella pinodes, Pythium spp., Rhizoctonia solani, and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, is a major yield-limiting factor for field pea production in Canada. A strain of Clonostachys rosea (syn. Gliocladium roseum), ACM941 (ATCC 74447), was identified as a mycoparasite against these pathogens. When grown near the pathogen, ACM941 often was stimulated to produce lateral branches that grew directly toward the pathogen mycelium, typically entwining around the pathogen mycelium. When applied to the seed, ACM941 propagated in the rhizosphere and colonized the seed coat, hypocotyl, and roots as the plant developed and grew. ACM941 significantly reduced the recovery of all fungal pathogens from infected seed, increased in vitro seed germination by 44% and seedling emergence by 22%, and reduced root rot severity by 76%. The effects were similar to those of thiram fungicide, which increased germination and emergence by 33 and 29%, respectively, and reduced root rot severity by 65%. When soil was inoculated with selected PRRC pathogens in a controlled environment, seed treatment with ACM941 significantly increased emergence by 26, 38, 28, 13, and 21% for F. oxysporum f. sp. pisi, F. solani f. sp. pisi, M. pinodes, R. solani, and S. sclerotiorum, respectively. Under field conditions from 1995 to 1997, ACM941 increased emergence by 17, 23, 22, 13, and 18% and yield by 15, 6, 28, 6, and 19% for the five respective pathogens. The seed treatment effects of ACM941 on these PRRC pathogens were greater or statistically equivalent to those achieved with thiram. Results of this study suggest that ACM941 is an effective bioagent in controlling PRRC and is an alternative to existing chemical products.