Honey bee dispersal of the biocontrol agent Trichoderma harzianum T39: Effectiveness in suppressing Botrytis cinerea on strawberry under field conditions

Sharoni Shafir*, Arnon Dag, Alon Bilu, Mohamad Abu-Toamy, Yigal Elad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Botrytis cinerea, which causes grey mould, is a major pathogen of many crops. On strawberry, isolates of Trichoderma spp. can effectively control B. cinerea, but frequent application is necessary. Bees can be used to disseminate biological control agents to the target crop. We tested the ability of honey bees to disseminate Trichoderma harzianum T39 to control B. cinerea in strawberry in the field during the winter in Israel over two consecutive seasons. We used the recently developed 'Triwaks' dispenser for loading the bees with the T. harzianum inoculum. During both years, grey mould developed in late January in untreated control plots; at low to medium disease levels it was partially controlled by fungicide treatment, and was best controlled in bee-visited plots. At high disease levels neither chemical nor biological control was effective. To assess the spatial distribution of inoculum by bees, we sampled flowers up to 200 m from the hives and found effective levels of T. harzianum even at 200 m. The approach used in this study provides an effective control of grey mould in strawberry in conditions of low to medium grey mould incidence.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)119-128
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Plant Pathology
Volume116
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by grant #824-0099-03 of the Chief Scientist Office, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Israel. We thank Shai Morin and Emil M. Friedman for statistical advice. Publication number 51905 of the Agricultural Research Organization.

Keywords

  • Apis mellifera
  • Grey mould
  • Inoculum dispenser
  • Trichodex

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