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Formulation of Binucleate Rhizoctonia spp. and Biocontrol of Rhizoctonia solani on Impatiens

December 2001 , Volume 85 , Number  12
Pages  1,241 - 1,248

E. W. Honeycutt and D. M. Benson , Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695

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Accepted for publication 10 August 2001.

Isolates BNR621 and P9023 of binucleate Rhizoctonia spp. (BNR) in Pesta and rice flour formulations were evaluated for control of preemergence damping-off of impatiens caused by R. solani. Amendment of a soilless potting mix with the formulations at 0.47% (vol:vol) 3 days prior to seeding and infesting did not improve control compared to amendment 1 day prior to seeding and infesting regardless of whether the moistened amended potting mix was stored in closed plastic bags or in plug trays under a mist system. BNR fungi were no more effective in biocontrol of R. solani in formulations amended at 0.9%. Control of damping-off was comparable but not consistent between formulations of BNR fungi and the fungicide thiophanatemethyl. Damping-off was controlled better with formulations of BNR fungi than with SoilGard based on Trichoderma virens. Shelf life of Pesta and rice flour formulations at 4°C was determined by assessing viability of BNR isolates over time. Viability of the BNR isolates, measured as CFU/g of formulation, declined to approximately 68 to 79% of the original propagule concentration after 6 months in Pesta and rice flour formulations, with the greatest decline in the first 2 months. Shelf life of BNR isolates in formulation significantly affected control of preemergence damping-off but was isolate dependent. Preemergence damping-off was only 5 to 7% with fresh formulations but increased to 30 to 50% with 4-month-old formulations. Controlled atmospheres, maintained with saturated salt solutions, were established to measure the effect of water activity on shelf life of formulations. Water activities (aw) of 0.12 and 0.33 aw enhanced BNR survival in formulations by approximately 2 to 3 months compared with aw of 0.53 and 0.75 aw. Storage of Pesta and rice flour formulations at 4°C significantly improved BNR survival by 4 to 5 months compared with storage at 25°C. These results suggest that improved shelf life of BNR isolates is needed before formulated products can be developed for biocontrol of preemergence damping-off.

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society