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Effect of epidemiological factors on the impact of the fungus Plectosporium tabacinum on false cleavers (Galium spurium)

Zhang, W.M., Sulz, M., Bailey, K.L., Cole, D.E.
Biocontrol science and technology 2002 v.12 no.2 pp. 183-194
Galium spurium, Deuteromycotina, biological control agents, biological control, epidemiology, mortality, dew, disease course, temperature, mycoherbicides
The fungus Plectosporium tabacinum has been evaluated as a bioherbicide for control of false cleavers (Galium spurium), but the limiting factors and optimal conditions for successful control using this pathogen are not known. False cleavers mortality and dry weight reductions caused by P. tabacinum were assessed under single or combined factors, including pathogen inoculum concentration, plant growth stage, dew period (duration, frequency, and timing), and dew period temperature. The minimum inoculum concentration required to kill false cleavers seedlings was 1 x 10(7) conidia mL-1 at an application rate of 150 mL m-2. False cleavers seedlings in the cotyledon or 1-whorl growth stage were the most susceptible. Increasing inoculum concentration increased weed control efficacy on older false cleavers seedlings. When an adequate dew period was provided, 100% mortality and dry weight reduction occurred. The minimum dew period to achieve 100% mortality was 16 h. Delaying the initiation of the dew period by 24 h significantly reduced disease development. Short, repetitive dew periods only improved false cleavers control to a limited extend and the length of initial dew is a critical factor influencing false cleavers mortality due to P. tabacinum. The optimal dew period temperature for disease development was above 15 degrees C.