DEVELOPMENT OF TRICHODERMA-BASED BIOCONTROL PRODUCTS FOR USE IN MULTIPLE APPLICATIONS AND CROPS IN COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE
Departments of Horticultural Sciences and Plant Pathology, Cornell University, and BioWorks Inc., Geneva, NY 14456, USA
Background and objectives
Results and conclusions
One product is T-22TM Planter Box, which is a dust designed to be applied by the farmer at the time of planting. The product is usually applied over fungicide- or fungicide+insecticide-treated seeds or seed pieces. Chemical fungicides give good short-term protection of the seed, but are not effective after about 2 weeks. T-22, however, grows onto the roots and provides advantages for the life of the crop; thus the combination provides advantages not possible for either chemical or biological treatments alone. T-22 gives healthier and more robust roots. Better roots permit the crop to withstand stresses such as disease, drought or nitrogen deficits because crop roots occupy a greater soil volume. As a consequence, the treatment frequently provides a yield improvement, especially when crops are stressed (sub-optimal growing conditions). T-22 increases both yield and size of potatoes; where potato size reflects grade and price received by the farmer, an increased return to the grower of several hundred dollars per acre has been obtained. For all crops, average return to growers is several-fold the price of the product; for some crops such as potatoes noted above and silage corn ($4.00 per ha treatments results in $100-200 increased revenue) the return is excellent.
Another product that contains T-22 is RootShieldTM granules and drench for use in the greenhouse. The granular product is added to the planting mix and the drench is applied after seeding, or in the case of ornamentals, after roots form on cuttings. Under usual greenhouse conditions, one application of the biological usually is as effective as several applications of conventional fungicides. For vegetable crops, the colonized roots can result in better transplant survival, control of root diseases in the field such as Fusarium crown and root rot of tomato, and increased yields .
Control of foliar and fruit diseases is also being investigated. Spray applications of T-22 controlled foliar phases of Botrytis and have the ability to control powdery mildew as well. For strawberries, T-22 can be applied to flowers either by a spray or by bees that exit hives through a T-22 preparation . Both methods result in control of the disease on the fruit; bee delivery is superior to spray applications and equivalent to the most effective fungicides. Spray applications are still in development, and US EPA registrations are pending for all uses and crops except bee delivery to strawberry. Registrations and sales in countries other than the USA are beginning.