Cultural techniques for improvement in biocontrol potential of fungal antagonists for biological control of Armillaria root rot of strawberry plants under glasshouse conditions
Raziq, F. and Fox, R.T.V. (2004) Cultural techniques for improvement in biocontrol potential of fungal antagonists for biological control of Armillaria root rot of strawberry plants under glasshouse conditions. Biological Agriculture & Horticulture, 22 (3). pp. 271-288. ISSN 0144-8765
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Several in vitro and in vivo experiments were conducted to develop an effective technique for culturing potential fungal antagonists (isolates of Trichoderma harzianum, Dactylium dendroides, Chaetomium olivaceum and one unidentified fungus) selected for activity against Armillaria mellea. The antagonists were inoculated onto (1) live spawn of the oyster mu shroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), (2) extra-moistened or sucrose-enriched mushroom composts containing living or autoclaved mycelia of P. ostreatus or Agaricus bisporus (button mushroom), (3) pasteurized compost with or without A. bisporus mycelium, wheat bran, wheat germ and (4) spent mushroom composts with living mycelia of A. bisporus, P. ostreatus or Lentinus edodes (the Shiitake mushroom). In one experiment, a representative antagonist (isolate Th2 of T. harzianum) was grown together with the A. bisporus mycelium, while in another one, the antagonist was first grown on wheat germ or wheat bran and then on mushroom compost with living mycelium of A. bisporus. Some of the carrier substrates were then added to the roots of potted strawberry plants in the glasshouse to evaluate their effectiveness against the disease. The antagonists failed to grow on the spawn of P. ostreatus even after reinoculations and prolonged incubation. Providing extra moisture or sucrose enrichment also did not improve the growth of Th2 on mushroom composts in the presence of living mycelia of A. bisporus or P. ostreatus. The antagonist, however, grew rapidly and extensively on mushroom compost with autoclaved mycelia, and also on wheat germ and wheat bran. Colonization of the substrates by the antagonist was positively correlated with its effectiveness in the glasshouse studies. Whereas only 33.3% of the inoculated control plants survived in one experiment monitored for 560 days, 100% survival was achieved when Th2 was applied on wheat germ or wheat bran. Growth of the antagonist alone on pasteurized or sterilized compost (without A. bisporus mycelia) and simultaneous growth of the antagonist and mushroom on pasteurized compost did not improve survival over the inoculated controls, but growth over mushroom compost with the living mycelium resulted in 50% survival rate. C. olivaceum isolate Co was the most effective, resulting in overall survival rate of 83.3% compared with only 8.3% for the inoculated and 100% for the uninoculated (healthy) controls. This antagonist gave the highest survival rate of 100% on spent mushroom compost with L. edodes. T harzianum isolate Th23, with 75% survival rate, was the most effective on spent mushroom compost with P. ostreatus, while D. dendroides isolate SP resulted in equal survival rates of 50% on all the three mushroom composts.