Project start: 01.04.2016
Project end: 31.03.2019
Sponsor: European Commission, Hessian Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
Yellow Wilting has been a problem in cultivation of corn salad for many years. Many abiotic and biotic factors have been excluded as causes. Yet, respective organisms and control measures are not identified. The project within the framework of EIP Agri aims at identifying the cause of Yellow Wilting with the help of metagenomic and metabolomic analyses and developing effective control strategies. Initial results show that solarization as soil disinfestation is efficient in inhibiting Yellow Wilting.
Project start: 01.03.2012
Project end: 31.12.2015
Sponsor: German Federal Environmental Foundation
Fungal entomopathogens are important antagonists of arthropod pests and have attracted increased attention as biocontrol agents in pest management programs. Some entomopathogenic fungi can endophytically colonize an array of plant species, providing systemic protection against damage by various insect pests or triggering induced systemic resistance mechanisms against plant pathogens. In the present study, greenhouse experiments were conducted to verify endophytic establishment of Beauveria bassiana in grapevine plants Vitis vinifera. Therefore, two commercialized B. bassiana strains (ATCC 74040 and GHA) were applied on potted grapevine plants. The antagonistic activity of endophytic B. bassiana against putative target pest insects like the vine mealybug Planococcus ficus was assessed using surface sterilized leaves for a bioassay. Possible effects of endophytic B. bassiana on the feeding preference of black vine weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus choosing between control and inoculated plants were examined through choice assays. Furthermore, the protective potential against grapevine downy mildew Plasmopara viticola was investigated in greenhouse experiments. Endophytic survival of B. bassiana inside leaf tissues was evident at least 28 days after inoculation. A significant effect of endophytic B. bassiana on growth and on mortality of P. ficus one week after the initial settlement of the vine mealybugs was evident. Adult O. sulcatus chose significantly more often control plants as a host plant compared to grapevine plants with endophytic B. bassiana. A significant effect on the disease severity of downy mildew on potted grapevine leaves could be observed if plants were treated with B. bassiana 3 and 7 days before an inoculation with P. viticola. Endophytic establishment of B. bassiana in grapevine plants therefore represents an alternative and sustainable plant protection strategy, with the potential of reducing pesticide applications in viticulture.