Plectosphaerella cucumerina as a bioherbicide for Cirsium arvense: proof of concept
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Plectosphaerella cucumerina (Lindf.) W. Gams was evaluated as a bioherbicide for Cirsium arvense L. (Scop.) using a Canadian and a New Zealand isolate. Both isolates defoliated C. arvense when applied at 1013 conidia ha−1 in water volumes ranging from 250 to 6400 l ha−1 with a rapid decline in effect with declining conidial dose. Repeat application and the addition of the adjuvant Pulse® penetrant to the conidial suspension increased the disease severity in C. arvense. Maximum disease occurred at 20 °C with a 48 h post-application dew period. The experiments demonstrate that P. cucumerina can defoliate C. arvense under the environmental conditions of temperate pastures where the weed is problematic. The results also show that modifications to formulation and strategic application may reduce the 48 h dew period requirement and risk to non-target species respectively, supporting the conclusion that the fungus has potential as a bioherbicide for C. arvense.
KeywordsMycoherbicide Canada thistle Californian thistle Creeping thistle Plectosphaerellaceae Asteraceae
We thank Meat and Wool New Zealand (now Beef + Lamb New Zealand) and the Foundation for Research Science and Technology for funding Experiment 1 (under Projects 05AR/16 and C10X0811 respectively). We also thank the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand, for funding Experiments 4 and 5 (through AgResearch core funding) and Carolyn Lusk, AgResearch, for technical assistance. Experiments 2 and 3 were funded under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada A-base research.
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