Microbial Control of Botrytis spp

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Biocontrol of Botrytis-incited diseases has been extensively investigated over the last 50 years. This chapter reviews the literature on microbial control of Botrytis species with a particular emphasis on the importance of gaining a full understanding of the biological and ecological attributes of a biological control agent as a means to developing appropriate strategies for its effective use under commercial cropping conditions. The key microbial genera that have shown greatest potential for Botrytis disease control include the filamentous fungi Trichoderma, Gliocladium and Ulocladium, the bacteria Bacillus and Pseudomonas and the yeasts Pichia and Candida. Commercial success has been achieved in glasshouse and post-harvest environments where stable environmental conditions allow greater control over the application of the biocontrol agent and expression of its biological activity. Considerable progress has also been made in achieving more consistent biocontrol under field conditions, particularly in vineyards, but the complexities of the plant, microbe, environment interaction and its inherent variability will always pose a severe challenge to achieving effective and consistent field biocontrol. In recognising this, current research aims to define more clearly the biological and economic barriers that limit biocontrol efficacy and future research should focus on the strategic integration of biocontrol systems with other cultural, chemical and genetic methods to provide more sustainable disease control.