Soil-borne Verticillium wilt

The Verticillium wilt disease is occurring world-wide. Diseases on Brassica are often caused by a mixture of pathogens.

Verticillium dahliae and Verticillium longisporum are among the fungi that cause Verticillium wilt, a disease causing high yield losses worldwide. Verticillium spp. infests over 300 species,  including many important agricultural plants.

What are the symptoms of soil-borne Verticillium wilt?

Wilting of stem and leaves; a typical half-sided discoloration of the older leaves; stunting, necrosis or tissue death, and defoliation; internal vascular tissue discoloration; early loss of seeds.

How can Verticillium wilt be controlled?

Currently, no fungicides are available to control Verticillium. The disease can be prevented by wide crop rotations and by avoiding plants that are known to be susceptible.
There is no possibility to suppress the pathogen efficiently. Treatments by antagonistic bacteria can induce long-term protection against pathogens. Serratia plymuthica HRO-C48 has been selected for the biological control of Verticillium wilt and other soil-borne fungi. However, no application method for commercial seed treatment is available until now.

Use of pesticides

No seed treatment based on synthetic fungicides to control Verticillium wilt is available.

BIOCOMES biological control agent

This biological control agent is needed because no control against Verticillium wilt exists to date, and there is no other possibility to suppress the pathogen. Based on two biological control agents already evaluated under field conditions – Serratia plymuthica and Paenibacillus polymyxa  – a method for seed treatment will be developed and optimized.

View slideshare presentation about verticillium wilt.

Photo: Stems of oilseed rape infested with Verticillium longisporum. Picture Technische Universität Graz.

Gabriele Berg
Gabriele Berg
Soil-borne Verticillium wilt diseases in oil seed rape and vegetables

Biological Control Agents

At the end of the project a target-specific environmentally friendly product for seed treatment against soil-borne pathogens will be ready for registration.

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Current stage of the Biological Control Agent


Month 18: Target-specific BCAs or combinations thereof for seed treatment
Month 18: Novel methods for seed treatment
Month 36: Genome-based optimized protocols for fermentation and formulation of Gram-negative and Gram-positive BCAs
Month 48: Optimized BCAs for oilseed rape and novel BCAs for Brassica vegetables


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