Biocontrol options for Cirsium arvense with indigenous fungal pathogens


B Schulz, Institute of Microbiology, Technical University of Braunschweig, Spielmannstr, 7, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany. Tel: (+49) 531 391 5811; Fax: (+49) 531 391 5854; E-mail:


As a first step in the development of a mycoherbicide for biological control of Cirsium arvense indigenous fungal pathogens that had been isolated from diseased hosts were tested both singly and in combination on potted plants under environmental conditions. Disease symptoms (necroses, chloroses and macerations) and parameters of growth and development were evaluated to determine the potential for weed control. During 1998, Phoma destructiva, Phoma hedericola, a Mycelia sterilia and Puccinia punctiformis were inoculated singly. With the exception of the obligate biotroph P. punctiformis (local infections), the single inoculations reduced the measured parameters. A combined inoculum of P. punctiformis and Ph. hedericola was less effective than Ph. hedericola alone. In 1999, Ph. hedericola, Ph. destructiva, Ph. nebulosa and the Mycelia sterila were applied both singly and as a combined inoculum. Of all the tested inocula, the mixture of four pathogens had the greatest potential for biocontrol, significantly reducing reproductive capacity of the plants. These results demonstrate the importance of taking advantage of synergisms in developing a mycoherbicide.