Link to home

Abiotic and Biological Suppression of Phytophthora parasitica in a Horticultural Medium Containing Composted Swine Waste

July 2004 , Volume 94 , Number  7
Pages  780 - 788

E. J. Fichtner , D. M. Benson , H. G. Diab , and H. D. Shew

Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695

Go to article:
Accepted for publication 3 March 2004.

Horticultural potting media have been amended with compost to enhance biological suppression and with Al2(SO4)3 to enhance abiotic suppression of plant pathogens, but these factors have not been simultaneously incorporated into the same medium. In this study, the efficacy of aluminum (Al)-amended potting medium containing 20% composted swine waste (CSW) was assessed for control of Phytophthora parasitica (syn. P. nicotianae), a soilborne pathogen causing damping-off of many horticultural bedding plants. Steamed and unsteamed media were amended with no Al or Al at 0.0079 g of Al g-1 of medium with an Al2(SO4)3 solution at either pH 4 or pH 6. Infested leaf disks were buried for 2-day durations beginning 0, 6, 13, and 21 days after Al amendment. The number of sporangia produced on infested leaf disks was assessed. A similar experiment was conducted to determine the effect of steaming and Al amendments on pathogen populations. Medium treated with the pH 4 solution consistently reduced sporangia production between 38 and 65% on day 0, but no Al effect was noted at subsequent time points. The pH 6 amendment did not consistently affect sporangia production. Exchangeable Al levels decreased over time, and abiotic suppression was only observed at >2 μM Al g-1 of medium. Pathogen populations were occasionally affected by steaming and Al. Sporangia production in unsteamed medium was reduced by 50% on leaf disks buried on days 6, 13, and 21, but not on day 0. Al amendment of a 20% CSW potting medium enhanced suppression of P. parasitica and abiotic suppression occurred before biological suppression developed.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society