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Keywords:

  • biological control agents;
  • disease resistance stimulants;
  • botrytis bunch rot;
  • grey mould;
  • induced resistance;
  • plant/microbe extracts

There is increasing interest in the use of biological control agents (BCAs) and plant resistance stimulants to suppress botrytis bunch rot in grapes, caused by Botrytis cinerea. Numerous different filamentous fungi, bacteria and yeasts have been selected as potential BCAs for control of grey mould based upon demonstrated antagonism towards B. cinerea. Biological suppression of the pathogen arises via competition for nutrients and space, the production of inhibitory metabolites and/or parasitism. Preformed and inducible grapevine defence mechanisms also contribute to disease suppression by preventing or delaying pathogenic infection. Furthermore, various biotic and abiotic agents can stimulate grapevine defence mechanisms and so elevate resistance to B. cinerea infection. Biosuppression of B. cinerea in vineyards, using BCAs and resistance stimulants, has been inconsistent when compared with that observed in controlled glasshouse or laboratory conditions. This may be attributable, in part, to the innate variability of the field environment. Research to improve field efficacy has focused on formulation improvement, the use of BCA mixtures and combinational approaches involving BCAs and plant resistance stimulants with complementary modes of action.