The American Floral Endowment funded several research projects in 1997, including the following projects that utilize biological control in floral crops.
Bacteria to Deter Rhizoctonia Root Rot - Dr. David Norman at the University of Florida has taken bacteria from the roots of healthy floricultural crops and tested them for their protection against Rhizoctonia on impatiens. Some of the bacteria tested enhance impatiens seedling growth.
Fungi to Control Thrips - scientists at the University of Vermont used an electrostatic sprayer to deliver Beauveria bassiana for control of thrips on chrysanthemum. Both a wettable powder and an emulsifiable concentrate (BotaniGard® from Mycotech) caused significant death of thrips. Additional trials are planned using a hydraulic sprayer.
Wasp for Aphid Control - Dr. Kevin Heinz at Texas A&M is developing release strategies for the parasitic wasp Aphidius colemani. He found that several release points was better than one release point in chrysanthemums. He's also examining the distribution of the aphids throughout the greenhouse--clumped or evenly spread out--since this affects the success of the wasps in controlling aphids.
Disease Management on Poinsettia - Dr. D. Michael Benson used binucleate Rhizoctonia (BNR) against fungal pathogens on poinsettia at North Carolina State University. Control of Rhizoctonia root rot using two isolates of BNR was very promising. Poinsettia cuttings growing in a mix with BNR had only 1-25% Rhizoctonia root rot compared with 76-100% infection in the untreated controls. Tests with BNR treatments against Pythium and Botrytis were inconclusive. Development of a commercial formulation of the two successful isolates is underway.
American Floral Endowment Update, Summer 1997.
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