Fighting grey mould on strawberries

Strawberry

About

Grey mould is caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea. Grey mould of strawberries is a major problem for production in all states and is considered a high priority disease. Strawberry growers have struggled to manage this disease using fungicides as the pathogen evolves to develop resistance to various chemicals and an environmentally friendly alternative control would greatly assist strawberry producers.

This project will develop a biological control agent for B. cinerea in strawberries using a microbe which is a natural predator of B. cinerea and is adapted to growing in the strawberry crop environment to suppress the disease. The project aims to have a biocontrol formulation available to growers within two years of the completion of the project at a competitive cost.

How

A strategic review of the agrichemical requirements of the strawberry industry has identified a biological control agent for control of grey mould as one option to consider for the industry in dealing with this high priority disease.

Biocontrol Australia, is a Tasmanian based company that produces biocontrol agents for a range of horticultural industries. They are currently developing a biocontrol agent for the control of grey mould in strawberries isolated from strawberry plants.

To date, a number of candidate microbes have been isolated, evaluated in preliminary laboratory assays, used to produce prototype formulations and utilised in field trials.

Why

A number of fungicides are currently registered for use in the control of grey mould in strawberries in Australia. However, fungicide resistance management issues mean alternative control measures which have a good integrated pest management fit and different modes of action to the currently registered fungicides would be valuable additions to the disease toolbox for strawberry production.

Trials will not only examine the effect on disease control on plants, but also the ability to reduce disease inoculum levels through activity against the pathogen resting structures which can be of particular importance for subsequent crops. Initial trials have demonstrated a number of prototype formulations with promise, but further testing is required to validate these initial results.

Project Details

Project Details

Project name: Biological control agent for Botrytis in strawberries
Project number: BS12007

Biocontrol Australia Pty Ltd

Funding Statement

This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited with co-investment from Biocontrol Australia Pty Ltd and funds from the Australian Government.


Delivery Partners

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Biocontrol Australia Pty Ltd

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