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Controlled Laboratory System to Study Soil Solarization and Organic Amendment Effects on Plant Pathogens

November 2007 , Volume 97 , Number  11
Pages  1,476 - 1,483

Eyal Klein, Jaacov Katan, Miriam Austerweil, and Abraham Gamliel

First, third, and fourth authors: Laboratory for Pest Management Research, Institute of Agricultural Engineering, ARO, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel; and first and second authors: Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Quality Sciences, Rehovot 76100, Israel.

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Accepted for publication 18 June 2007.

A controlled laboratory system for simulating soil solarization, with and without organic amendment, was developed and validated using physical, chemical, and biological parameters. The system consists of soil containers that are exposed to controlled and constant aeration, and to temperature fluctuations that resemble those occurring during solarization at various depths. This system enables a separate analysis of volatiles and other components. We recorded a sharp decrease in oxygen concentration in the soil atmosphere followed by a gradual increase to the original concentration during solarization in the field and heating in the simulation system of soil amended with wild rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) or thyme (Thymus vulgaris). The combined treatment of organic amendment and solarization (or heating in the controlled system) was highly effective at controlling populations of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. radicis-lycopersici. Changes in soil pH, enzymatic activities, and microbial populations followed, in most cases, trends which were similar under both solarization and the heating system, when exposed to controlled aerobic conditions. The reliability and validity of the system in simulating physical, chemical, and biological processes taking place during solarization is demonstrated.

Additional keywords:biological control, herb residues, pest management.

© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society