Recent research has found that biological control methods for botrytis can be as effective as a chemical approach. A trial conducted earlier this year in a commercial strawberry field in Santa Maria looked at a total of 15 different materials, both biological and chemical. UC Cooperative Extension Entomology and Biologicals Advisor, Dr. Surendra Dara found that some biological materials can be effectively used for botrytis control.
“I had a variety of these biologicals that included botanical extracts, microbials, different species and strains of bacteria, and protein-based materials, and also essential oil-based ones,” Dara explained. “Depending on the rotation we used with the other fungicides, or the application rate, some of them did very well, comparable to chemical standard.”
A total of 25 different treatments including an untreated control were evaluated as part of the research. The biological control materials used as part of the study offered varying modes of action. Each of the biological control methods can affect the botrytis pathogen in different ways. For example, the microbials that were used produce metabolites that will antagonize the pathogen.
“When we look at other materials, if it is an essential oil or some other material, they disrupt the cell membrane and sometimes these can be fungistatic, that means they stop the growth. Sometimes they are fungicidal, that means they kill the fungus,” said Dara. “Depending on which product we are using and combinations and then rotations, we can get an advantage for these multiple modes of action.”
Listen to the full episode with Dr. Surendra Dara.
‘Making Sense of Biologicals’ is a series from AgNet West that dives into various topics with unbiased experts in the field of biologics to help the industry better understand the product category.
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