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Demonstration of the biofumigation activity of Muscodor albus against Rhizoctonia solani in soil and potting mix


This research demonstrates the role of antimicrobial volatiles produced by Muscodor albus in disease control in soil and potting mix. The volatiles controlled damping-off of broccoli seedlings when pots containing soil or soilless potting mix infested with Rhizoctonia solani were placed in the presence of active M. albus culture without physical contact in closed containers. Conversely, plugs of R. solani on potato dextrose agar were inhibited when they were placed in the presence of M. albus incorporated into garden soil or soilless potting mix. Gas chromatographic analysis with solid-phase micro extraction showed that isobutyric acid and 2-methyl-1-butanol were released from the treated substrates. There was a significant relationship between the production of isobutyric acid in soil and damping-off control (P = 0.0415). Production of isobutyric acid was short-lived in treated substrates, peaking at 24 h in potting mix and 48 h in soil. Amounts of isobutyric acid released from soil were several times higher than those released from potting mix. Also, higher rates of M. albus rye grain culture were required to control damping-off in potting mix than in soil. This suggests that the soil used in this study is a better environment than soilless potting mix for the biological activity or viability of M. albus and components from the potting mix might bind the volatiles. The release of volatiles from soil during the biofumigation process suggests that containment measures such as tarping could be used to improve the control of soil-borne diseases and reduce use rate of the biocontrol agent.

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Correspondence to Julien Mercier.

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Handling Editor: Monica Hofte.

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Mercier, J., Jiménez, J.I. Demonstration of the biofumigation activity of Muscodor albus against Rhizoctonia solani in soil and potting mix. BioControl 54, 797 (2009).

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  • Volatile
  • Fumigation
  • Soil-borne diseases
  • Damping-off
  • Isobutyric acid
  • Potting mix
  • Soilless mix
  • Root rot
  • Antifungal
  • Biocontrol