COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF FTGTM, A BIOFUNGICIDE FOR USE IN FORESTRY AND HORTICULTURE
EA PEDERSEN1, DN HE1 and MS REDDY2
1Agrium Inc., 402-15 Innovation Boulevard, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 2X8, Canada; 2731 Swan Crescent, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7J 5C7, Canada
Background and objectives
Agrium Inc., one of North America's largest manufacturers and marketers of fertilizer products and agricultural services, has developed a new bacterial-based biofungicide for use on seedlings of coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs. The product, called FTGTM, suppresses damping-off and root-rot diseases caused by Fusarium, Pythium, Rhizoctonia and Armillaria, and increases root and shoot growth of transplanted seedlings. To facilitate convenient delivery to seeds or seedlings, a proprietary liquid formulation has been developed that contains >1x107 c.f.u. of Burkholderia cepacia strain Ral-3 per ml, and has a shelf-life of more than 6 months when stored between 5 and 22°C. Possible modes of action of strain Ral-3 include production of several antimicrobial metabolites and hormones.
Results and conclusions
In bare-root trials, FTG applied as a seed treatment increased the density of Loblolly pine, Longleaf pine, Slash pine and Douglas fir seedlings from 17 to 40% at 3-7 weeks after planting. In reforestation trials conducted in western Canada, drenching or dipping seedlings of White spruce, Engelman spruce and Interior spruce before transplant resulted in increases of 4-14% in root collar diameter, 10-30% in new shoot height, and 7-32% in total shoot dry weight by the end of the second growing season. Shoot height of hybrid poplar cuttings dipped in FTG before planting was increased by 14-26% after the first growing season. 1-year-old seedlings of rose, golden elder and cherry drenched with FTG before transplanting had height increases of 20, 33 and 20%, respectively, 2.5 months after treatment. Our work has shown that strain Ral-3 successfully colonizes the roots of many coniferous and deciduous species, controls disease caused by a range of fungal pathogens, and promotes the growth of woody plants under a variety of field conditions. FTG is currently under joint review for registration in Canada and the USA.