Plant and Soil

, Volume 378, Issue 1–2, pp 365–381 | Cite as

Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) Combined with Soil Solarization as a Methyl Bromide Alternative: Vegetable Crop Performance and Soil Nutrient Dynamics

  • David M. ButlerEmail author
  • Nancy Kokalis-Burelle
  • Joseph P. Albano
  • T. Greg McCollum
  • Joji Muramoto
  • Carol Shennan
  • Erin N. Rosskopf
Regular Article


Background and Aims

Soil treatment by anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) combined with soil solarization can effectively control soilborne plant pathogens and plant-parasitic nematodes in specialty crop production systems. At the same time, research is limited on the impact of soil treatment by ASD + solarization on soil fertility, crop performance and plant nutrition. Our objectives were to evaluate the response of 1) soil nutrients and 2) vegetable crop performance to ASD + solarization with differing levels of irrigation, molasses amendment, and partially-composted poultry litter amendment (CPL) compared to an untreated control and a methyl bromide (MeBr) + chloropicrin-fumigated control.


A 2-year field study was established in 2008 at the USDA-ARS U.S. Horticultural Research Lab in Fort Pierce, Florida, USA to determine the effectiveness of ASD as an alternative to MeBr fumigation for a bell pepper (Capsicum annum L.)-eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) double crop system. A complete factorial combination of treatments in a split-split plot was established to evaluate three levels of initial irrigation [10, 5, or 0 cm], two levels of CPL (amended or unamended), and two levels of molasses (amended or unamended) in combination with solarization. Untreated and MeBr controls were established for comparison to ASD treatments.


Results suggest that ASD treatment using molasses as the carbon source paired with solarization can be an effective strategy to maintain crop yields in the absence of soil fumigants. For both bell pepper and eggplant crops, ASD treatments with molasses as the carbon source had equivalent or greater marketable yields than the MeBr control. The application of organic amendments in ASD treatment (molasses or molasses + CPL) caused differences in soil nutrients and plant nutrition compared to the MeBr control that must be effectively managed in order to implement ASD on a commercial scale as a MeBr replacement.


Soil disinfestation Methyl bromide alternatives Molasses Organic amendments Bell pepper Eggplant Solarization Vegetable nutrition 



Anaerobic soil disinfestation


Composted poultry litter


Methyl bromide


Untreated control



The authors wish to thank Kate Rotindo, Melissa Edgerly, Bernardette Stange, Amanda Rinehart, John Mulvaney, Jackie Markle, Randy Driggers, Gene Swearingen, Don Beauchaine, Steve Mayo, Veronica Abel, William Crawford, James Salvatore, Wayne Brown, Chris Lasser, and Pragna Patel for their assistance with the field and laboratory work. Funding for a portion of this work was provided by the USDA-NIFA Methyl Bromide Transitions Grant Agreements 2007-51102-03854 and 2010-51102-21707. The authors wish to thank Seminis Vegetable Seeds, Inc., Saint Louis, Missouri, USA for the donation of vegetable seeds and Johnson Plants Inc., Immokalee, FL, USA for assistance with transplant production.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Butler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nancy Kokalis-Burelle
    • 2
  • Joseph P. Albano
    • 2
  • T. Greg McCollum
    • 2
  • Joji Muramoto
    • 3
  • Carol Shennan
    • 3
  • Erin N. Rosskopf
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Plant SciencesThe University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, USDA-ARSFort PierceUSA
  3. 3.Department of Environmental StudiesThe University of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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