EFFECTS OF HERBICIDES ON THE GROWTH OF SOIL FUNGI

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Summary

Three methods have been used to investigate the effects of a number of commercial herbicides on the growth of certain soil fungi: measurements of hyphal extension across agar plates; measurements of hyphal extension along sterilized plant material; and manometric techniques. Three points, in particular, emerged from these studies. First, that there was no stimulation of fungal growth. Herbicide interference in growth included suppression of spore germination, inhibition of the rate of linear extension of the mycelia, and abnormalities in growth habit and in patterns of spore production. Secondly, that some herbicides (e.g. linuron and paraquat) were more fungitoxic than others (e.g. MCPA and simazine) to a range of organisms. Thirdly, that there were differences between fungi in their sensitivity to individual herbicides. All three methods have shown consistent differences between fungi in their ability to tolerate paraquat. Trichoderma viride, in particular, has been found to be sensitive to paraquat. The inhibitory effects were observed at concentrations well within the range likely to be experienced in the field.

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