Recent advances in the biocontrol of Orobanche (broomrape) species
- Cite this article as:
- Amsellem, Z., Barghouthi, S., Cohen, B. et al. BioControl (2001) 46: 211. doi:10.1023/A:1011496114707
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Parasitic broomrapes (Orobanche spp.) are majoruncontrolled weeds in the Mediterranean regions of Europe and the NearEast causing major losses to vegetable, grain legume, and sunflowercrops. Selective herbicides alone cannot provide persistent, season-longcontrol of these parasites, and much methyl bromide is used for theircontrol, where affordable. Thus they are excellent targets forbiocontrol. The recent progress by the COST 816 Orobancheworking group in this area is reviewed herein. Natural infestation bythe fly Phytomyza orobanchia of seed capsules of Orobanchecrenata parasitising faba bean halved Orobanche seedproduction while inundative releases of adults reduced it to 5%of viable seeds. The fungi Fusarium arthrosporioides E4a andF. oxysporum E1d, as well as strains of bacteria were isolatedfrom diseased, juvenile, Orobanche flower stalks. They arepathogenic to O. aegyptiaca, O. crenata and O. ramosaon most vegetable crops. A F. oxysporum f. sp.orthoceras was specifically pathogenic to O. cumana onsunflowers. All were used in various experiments with a modicum ofsuccess. Methods were developed to formulate isolated mycelia, whichcould eventually allow the use of transgenic hypervirulent pathogens inasporogenic (deletion) mutants (as a failsafe against spread).Mycotoxins were also isolated from different Fusarium and otherfungal species that kill Orobanche, and are being consideredfor direct use, or to augment other strategies. All threeFusarium spp. used have been transformed with gusand/or gfp genes allowing tracing their movement in theenvironment, and opening the way to future transformations tohypervirulence.