Biocontrol of soil-borne plant pathogens: Concepts and their application

Authors

  • James W. Deacon,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh, Daniel Rutherford Building, King's Buildings, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JH, UK
    • Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh, Daniel Rutherford Building, King's Buildings, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JH, UK
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  • Lorraine A. Berry

    1. Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh, Daniel Rutherford Building, King's Buildings, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JH, UK
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  • Based on a paper presented at the meeting “Biological Control: Use of Living Organisms in the Management of Invertebrate Pests, Pathogens and Weeds”, organised by the SCI Pesticides Group and held at the SCI, 14/15 Belgrave Square, London SWIX 8PS, UK on 19-20 October 1992.

Abstract

A few soil-borne plant pathogens have been controlled successfully by commercial formulations of biocontrol agents, but many attempts to develop biocontrol inoculants, although promising under experimental conditions, have met with difficulties in practice. The reasons for this are discussed in this review, which outlines some of the major findings on the behaviour of microbial inoculants in soil. It is emphasized that biocontrol also occurs naturally in current agricultural practice and can be exploited purposely, but it is vulnerable to disruption by agrochemicals or mismanagement. The future of biocontrol of soilborne plant pathogens probably lies in integrated (biorational) control systems that combine the use of commercial inoculants, where appropriate, with management practices that maintain and enhance the natural biocontrol systems.

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