Enhancing biological control of basal stem rot disease (Ganoderma boninense) in oil palm plantations
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Basal Stem Rot (BSR) disease caused by Ganoderma boninense is the most destructive disease in oil palm, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia. The available control measures for BSR disease such as cultural practices and mechanical and chemical treatment have not proved satisfactory due to the fact that Ganoderma has various resting stages such as melanised mycelium, basidiospores and pseudosclerotia. Alternative control measures to overcome the Ganoderma problem are focused on the use of biological control agents and planting resistant material. Present studies conducted at Indonesian Oil Palm Research Institute (IOPRI) are focused on enhancing the use of biological control agents for Ganoderma. These activities include screening biological agents from the oil palm rhizosphere in order to evaluate their effectiveness as biological agents in glasshouse and field trials, testing their antagonistic activities in large scale experiments and eradicating potential disease inoculum with biological agents. Several promising biological agents have been isolated, mainly Trichoderma harzianum, T. viride, Gliocladium viride, Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Bacillus sp. A glasshouse and field trial for Ganoderma control indicated that treatment with T. harzianum and G. viride was superior to Bacillus sp. A large scale trial showed that the disease incidence was lower in a field treated with biological agents than in untreated fields. In a short term programme, research activities at IOPRI are currently focusing on selecting fungi that can completely degrade plant material in order to eradicate inoculum. Digging holes around the palm bole and adding empty fruit bunches have been investigated as ways to stimulate biological agents.
Keywordsbiological control Ganoderma boninense oil palm Trichoderma spp
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