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  Re: [aroid-l] Fusarium
From: "Bryant, Harry E." HEBryant at scj.com> on 2002.10.25 at 16:35:24(9582)
Fellow plant lovers,

For the short time I have been involved with the aroid world I have heard a
loud and consistent outcry regarding the horrors of unwanted fungi growing
and doing their dirty deeds to the plants we love. As part of an ongoing
search for ways of controlling fungi I have found that there may be some
very interesting ways other than resorting to traditional chemical fungicide
controls. There may be an alternative to this course of action that are not
yet in common practice.

Bio-control, the notion of using one microorganism to control another is a
relatively new concept. Microbes are extremely adaptable organisms in their
ability to metabolize unwanted chemicals in our environment, produce
inhibitory by-products, or actually invade, and kill other organisms. These
attributes have been used successfully in bio-remediation of chemical spills
and control of unwanted agricultural pests. New approaches to the control
of unwanted organisms, whether they are bacteria, fungi, algae, nematodes,
or insects may be found in the natural microbial world itself. Let's use
nature to control nature, one microbe to control another. The mechanisms
may be simply one organism eating another, or may be a complex string of
events that results in the death of the unwanted organism. There are
products on the market that claim to do exactly this. The data supporting
those claims is often convincing.

What I propose is that bio-control agents could be applied at the time of
planting or possibly as a dusting of a tuber once an infection is apparent,
or as a prophylactic control measure if a mycosis is suspected. These bugs
would set up house keeping in the soil and would inhibit invasion of the
tubers and roots of our plants or would invade existing fungal infection.
One example of this being done already is the control of a fungus that
wrecks golf greens. This has been done using a product that is a Bacillus
subtilis variant. The results are striking. Without going into a lot of
detail here I will point those of you who are interested in the direction
one possible product (not an endorsement). There are others. This was
picked because it is a commercialized product. It is called, Serenade(tm)
Biofungicide, http://www.agraquest.com/serenade/sermain.html. Here you'll
find some results on onion,
http://www.agraquest.com/serenade/pdfs/Serenade%20jpegs/onions1.jpg Look at
some of the results against agricultural pests and you may get excited about
the prospects of expanding this technology to the hobby world. I think
you'll find that a web search for "bio-control" will yield many other hits
that are equally exciting.

Sorry for the length of this post, but I do tend to get on a soapbox

Harry Bryant

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