European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 113, Issue 2, pp 197–209 | Cite as

Effect of Combined Treatment of Pasteurisation and Coniothyrium  minitans on Sclerotia of Sclerotinia  sclerotiorum in Soil

  • Amanda J. Bennett
  • Carlo Leifert
  • John M. Whipps


Integrated control of soil-borne plant pathogens such as Sclerotinia  sclerotiorum is becoming more important as the soil fumigant methyl bromide is being phased out of use. Two alternative methods of control that have been found to reduce viability of sclerotia are steam sterilisation (pasteurisation) of soil or the application of the mycoparasite Coniothyrium minitans. This work investigated the possibility of integrating these two control measures. Soil was pasteurised in an autoclave, using a temperature of 80 °C for 3 min to simulate the possible temperatures reached by soil steaming machines for field use. Coniothyrium  minitans was subsequently applied to the pasteurised soil to assess the effects of the combination of control measures in reducing sclerotial viability of S. sclerotiorum. Similar results were found in two soil types. Either method used individually was effective in decreasing the number of viable sclerotia, but no further reduction in sclerotial viability was seen when the two methods were combined. Coniothyrium  minitans was found to colonise pasteurised sclerotia significantly quicker than untreated sclerotia, and it was seen that there was an increase in number of C. minitans in pasteurised soil in the presence of sclerotia. Experiments were also conducted to investigate the effect of application timing of the biocontrol agent to soil following pasteurisation, in relation to sclerotial infection. Here, two different isolates of S. sclerotiorum were used, with similar results. Application of C. minitans to soil immediately following pasteurisation resulted in sclerotial infection by the mycoparasite, but application 7 days or more after soil pasteurisation resulted in low recovery of the biocontrol agent from sclerotia, possibly due to the mycoparasite being masked by the presence of other fungi which colonised the sclerotia first.

Key words

fungal ecology integrated biocontrol methyl bromide pasteurization steam sterilisation 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda J. Bennett
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carlo Leifert
    • 2
  • John M. Whipps
    • 1
  1. 1.Warwick HRIUniversity of WarwickCV35 9EFEngland
  2. 2.Nafferton FarmUniversity of NewcastleNE43 7XDEngland

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