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Keywords:

  • Alternaria spp;
  • biocontrol agents;
  • essential oils;
  • Leptosphaeria maculans;
  • physical treatment;
  • seedborne pathogens

Abstract

Vegetable crops are frequently infected by fungal pathogens, which can include seedborne fungi. In such cases, the pathogen is already present within or on the seed surface, and can thus cause seed rot and seedling damping-off. Treatment of vegetable seeds has been shown to prevent plant disease epidemics caused by seedborne fungal pathogens. Furthermore, seed treatments can be useful in reducing the amounts of pesticides required to manage a disease, because effective seed treatments can eliminate the need for foliar application of fungicides later in the season. Although the application of fungicides is almost always effective, their non-target environmental impact and the development of pathogen resistance have led to the search for alternative methods, especially in the past few years. Physical treatments that have already been used in the past and treatments with biopesticides, such as plant extracts, natural compounds and biocontrol agents, have proved to be effective in controlling seedborne pathogens. These have been applied alone or in combination, and they are widely used owing to their broad spectrum in terms of disease control and production yield. In this review, the effectiveness of different seed treatments against the main seedborne pathogens of some important vegetable crops is critically discussed. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry