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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Alternatives to Methyl Bromide for Vegetable and Floriculture Production

Location: Subtropical Plant Pathology Research

Project Number: 6618-22000-040-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Dec 07, 2012
End Date: Jan 23, 2014

Objective:
1. Develop new management strategies for control of pests and pathogens currently or previously controlled by soil fumigants in vegetable and ornamental cropping systems. 2. Integrate cultural, biological, and chemical control tactics into technically feasible pest management programs for soilborne pests and pathogens. 3. Identify impact of pest management tactics on biological and functional diversity of soil microflora, nematode, and weed populations, their competitive interactions, and effects on crop health and to develop genomic technologies to characterize changes in soil microbial populations in response to pest management tactics and the resulting effects on crop health. 4. Develop and evaluate grafting technologies (including determination of the soil pest complexes for which grafting is most suitable and development of tools to identify and avoid potential graft incompatibility issues) as management strategies for control of pests and pathogens currently or previously controlled by soil fumigants in vegetable cropping systems.

Approach:
A rational and sustainable approach to finding viable alternatives to methyl bromide is to utilize integrated pest management (IPM) programs where combinations of tactics are used to maintain economic damage from key pests below a tolerable threshold. Another approach is to redesign production systems minimizing the potential for outbreaks of soilborne pests. Availability of biologically-based pest management tactics must be increased for successful IPM programs for soilborne pests to be implemented. Growers must have the option of choosing tactics that fit the needs and constraints of their individual programs. Deployment of multiple or companion tactics is essential to alleviate selection pressure and manage potential increases in resistant pest populations. Synergistic effects from combinations of pest management tactics need to be determined. Specific research methodology will include combinations of cultural practices, biotechnology, biological, and conventional control methods. Identify rootstock and scion germplasm material which have traits that resist diseases commonly found in the Southeastern U.S. currently controlled by methyl bromide. Screen available rootstock material for compatibility using current and new techniques. Select and evaluate rootstock and scion combinations for initial disease resistance and adaptation to current and new cultural technique. Determine the influence of rootstock/scion combinations on the horticultural characteristics of fruit including fruit appearance pre and post harvest quality, flavor, time to maturity, and yield. Develop techniques to evaluate the growth and development of the plant combinations under biotic and abiotic stress and evaluate grafted plant performance under varying cultural conditions.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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