Biocontrol of Leaf and Stem Blights

Didymella bryoniae (Auersw.) Rehm (anamorph Phoma cucurbitacearum Fr.:Fr.) Sacc. is an important pathogen on greenhouse- and field-grown cucumbers and other cucurbits, and causes the disease gummy stem blight. The disease is favored by warm, humid conditions and the pathogen infects stems, fruit, leaves, and flowers of susceptible plants, especially through wounded or senescing tissues, and natural openings such as stomata and hydathodes. There are few reports on the potential of using biological control agents to control this disease. Utkhede and Coch (unpublished) applied the yeast R. diobovatum and the biocontrol agent

G. catenulatum J1446 as preventative treatments to wounded stem tissues of cucumber followed by inoculation with the pathogen. They demonstrated that both microbial agents significantly reduced disease development when compared to plants treated with water. Anthracnose disease of cucumber, caused by Colletotrichum magna, was reduced when a nonpathogenic mutant was applied to seedlings to achieve colonization and induction of defense responses that subsequently protected treated plants against the pathogen (Redman et al. 1999).

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