Inge M. B.
Department of Plant Biology, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, 40 Thorvaldsensvej, DK-1871 Frederiksberg C., Copenhagen, Denmark
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Accepted for publication 16 January 2004.
An ecological approach was used to select fungal antagonists effective against the seedborne pathogens Alternaria dauci and A. radicina on carrot. Twenty-five and 105 isolates originating from cereal and carrot habitats were screened against the pathogens in planta, respectively. Irrespective of isolate origin, fungal isolates belonging to Clonostachys rosea controlled pre- and postemergence death caused by A. dauci and A. radicina as effectively as the fungicide iprodione. Isolate IK726 of C. rosea was used in biopriming a seed lot with 29% A. radicina and 11% A. dauci (highly infected), and a seed lot with 4% A. radicina and 7% A. dauci (low infection). Seeds were primed with water alone (hydropriming) or with addition of C. rosea IK726 (biopriming). The occurrence of A. radicina and A. dauci increased twofold and fivefold, respectively, during 14 days hydropriming, irrespective of the initial infection level. On highly infected seed, biopriming reduced the incidence of A. radicina to <2.3% and that of A. dauci to <4.8% while the level of both pathogens was <0.5% on bioprimed seed with a low initial infection rate. In sand stand establishment tests, hydroprimed seeds had a lower healthy seedling stand than nonprimed seeds, mainly due to a high degree of postemergence seedling death. In contrast, biopriming resulted in a seedling stand that was better than that of both nonprimed and hydroprimed seeds. C. rosea IK726 multiplied fivefold to eightfold, and microscopic observations using C. rosea IK726 transformed with a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene showed that seeds were covered with a fine web of sporulating mycelium of C. rosea. The positive effect of biopriming on healthy seedling stand remained after 5 months of storage at 4°C and IK726 survived at high numbers on these seed. In this study, we demonstrated that bio-priming with the biocontrol strain C. rosea IK726 facilitates priming of infected seeds without risking adverse effects on seedling establishment.
© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society