Brown rot update March 2015
The high amount of rain fall in the summer of 2014 had a big impact on stone fruit production in the south of Europe. Diseases like Monilinia spp., had an easy chance to infect orchards creating high economic losses and showing the urgency of finding new strategies to control brown rot.
In the first year of the BIOCOMES project several partners worked together to characterize two biocontrol agents, to optimize the production processes and to start developing an application strategy for the control of brown rot in stone fruit.
The research teams of the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA) and Institute for Food and Agricultural Research and Technology (IRTA) have worked to characterizing and developing molecular markers to identify and differentiate Penicillium frequentans 909 and Bacillus subtilis CPA-8, respectively, from the rest of microbiota. The team of Graz University of Technology started to characterize relevant metabolites produced by Penicillium frequentans.
INIA and IRTA have been determining the mode of action from both biocontrol agents.
Production process has been optimized for both biocontrol agents by Bayer CropScience Biologics (BCSB) and IRTA and all is ready for the scaling up.
Regarding the optimization of the formulation processes, the Bayer CropScience Biologics researchers have been developing new formulations for Penicillium frequentans strain application and IRTA team has studied liquid and solid formulations for Bacillus subtilis strain with good survival results.
Two formulations of each biological control agent have been tested at field conditions in preliminary assays by OpenNatur and IRTA. However, the unusual favourable climatic conditions for Monilinia development occurring in the area this year, provoked an overkill of brown rot that could not be controlled by biological control agents but neither by chemical fungicides. Formulations will be improved during 2015 and new field trials will be carried out.
Read more about our activities on brown rot.
The top picture: Devices including the bioreactor used to produce and formulate the biocontrol agent.