First, third, and fourth authors: Department of Bioproduction Science, Faculty of Horticulture, Chiba University, 648 Matsudo, Matsudo-shi, Chiba 271-8510, Japan; second author: Graduate School of Science and Technology, Chiba University, Yayoicho-1-33, Inage, Chiba-shi, Chiba 263-8522, Japan; fifth author: Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331-2902
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Accepted for publication 18 May 2005.
Efficiency of nonpathogenic Fusarium oxysporum Fo-B2 for the biological control of Fusarium wilt of tomato, caused by F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici CU1, was examined in different environments: a growth chamber with sterile soil-less medium, a greenhouse with fumigated or nonfumigated soil, and nonfumigated field plots. Inoculation of Fo-B2 onto tomato roots significantly reduced the severity of disease, but the efficiency of disease suppression decreased as the experimental environment became less controlled. Relationships between the recovery of Fo-B2 from hypocotyls and the disease severity indicated that the biocontrol agent was most effective when it colonized vascular tissues intensively. Moreover, the degree of Fo-B2 colonization was greatly reduced when the seedlings were grown in nonfumigated soil. Dose-response models (negative exponential, hyperbolic saturation, and logistic) were fit to observed data collected over a range of inoculum densities of the pathogen and the antagonist; the logistic model provided the best fit in all environments. The ratios of an 50% effective dose parameter for Fo-B2 to that of CU1 increased as the environment became less controlled, suggesting that environmentally related efficiency reduction impacted the antagonist more than the pathogen. The results suggest that indigenous soil microbes were a primary factor negatively influencing the efficiency of Fo-B2. Therefore, early establishment of the antagonist in a noncompetitive environment prior to outplanting could improve the efficacy of biological control.
© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society