First, second, third, and sixth authors: Warwick HRI, University of Warwick, Wellesbourne, Warwick, CV35 9EF, U.K.; and fourth and fifth authors: Agrotechnology Department, Universidad Miguel Hernandez, Orihuela, Alicante, Spain
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Accepted for publication 18 April 2006.
Allium white rot (AWR) is a serious disease of Allium spp. caused by the sclerotium-forming fungus Sclerotium cepivorum. This work has examined the effects of onion waste compost (OWC) and spent mushroom compost (SMC), with and without Trichoderma viride S17A, on sclerotia viability and AWR in glasshouse and field experiments. Incorporation of OWC into soil reduced the viability of sclerotia and the incidence of AWR on onion plants in glasshouse pot bioassays, whereas SMC or T. viride S17A only reduced incidence of AWR. In two field trials, OWC reduced sclerotia viability and was as effective in reducing AWR as a fungicide (Folicur, a.i. tebuconazole). Field application of SMC had no effect on sclerotia viability and did not control AWR. However, the addition of T. viride S17A to SMC facilitated proliferation of T. viride S17A in the soil and increased the healthy onion bulb yield. The results indicate two mechanisms for the suppression of AWR: (i) reduction in the soil population of viable sclerotia, which may be due to volatile sulfur compounds detected in OWC but absent in SMC, and (ii) prevention of infection of onion plants from sclerotia following amendment of soil with OWC, SMC, or T. viride S17A.
© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society