Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Plant Protection Science


Horticulture and Crop Science


Kelly Ivors


Macrophomina phaseolina (Mp) and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae (Fof) are emerging soilborne pathogens causing crown rot and Fusarium wilt, respectively, in commercial strawberry production in California. Fungicides representing eight active ingredients from four different mode of action groups (FRAC groups 1, 3, 7 and 12) were evaluated for their efficacy against each pathogen in vitro and each disease in planta. Fungicide active ingredients were evaluated for their ability to inhibit mycelial growth of both pathogens in vitro. Half-strength potato dextrose agar was amended with six different concentrations (0.01, 0.1, 1.0, 5.0, 10, 50 µg a.i./ml) of seven fungicides in FRAC groups 3, 7 and 12. Concentrations that inhibited fungal growth by 75% (EC75) compared to unamended media were determined for two different isolates each of Mp and Fof and were used to determine fungicide rates for subsequent in planta studies. Tebuconazole strongly inhibited the mycelial growth of both pathogens (average EC75 for Mp was 2.4 ppm; average EC75 for Fof was 7.48 ppm), as did metconazole (average EC75 for Mp was2.53 ppm; average EC75 for Fof was 1.28 ppm). Fludioxonil strongly inhibited mycelial growth of Mp, but had no impact on the growth of Fof. Penthiopyrad, fluopyram, flutriafol, and flutolanil were less effective at inhibiting fungal growth of either fungus. Greenhouse in planta studies evaluated twenty-four fungicide treatments (eight fungicides at low, med and high rates) that were drench applied to infested potting media two days prior to planting of pathogen susceptible strawberry cultivars (San Andreas for Mp and Monterey for Fof) and again at day 21. Controls were a non-inoculated and an inoculated water-drench treatment. Buried inoculum was recovered at days 2 and 23 and plated on selective media for colony forming unit (CFU) quantification. Plant disease assessments were made each week for 11 weeks. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) of CFUs revealed no significant differences (p > 0.05) among treatments and when compared to the non-treated control for both Mp and Fof, but showed significant decreases (p < 0.05) in CFUs between weeks 1 and 3 for both Mp and Fof. An ANOVA for disease assessments in the form of area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) showed significant decreases of disease severity in treatments with penthiopyrad only (low, medium and high rates) (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences (p > 0.05) in AUDPC among treatments and when compared to the non-inoculated and no-fungicide controls for Fof. The data indicates that these fungicides used alone are not effective against these pathogens in planta.

A strawberry plant extract (germination stimulant) was assessed for its ability to stimulate germination of Mp microsclerotia in vitro and in planta. The germination stimulant was applied as a drench at six different concentrations (0, 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000 and 30,000 ppm) to soil containing filter disk packets of microsclerotia of Mp at day 0 and 14. Filter disk packets were retrieved three days after the drench and microsclerotia were observed microscopically for germination. Results showed that the number of germinating microsclerotia was significantly higher after the application of the germination stimulant compared to non-drench and 0 ppm controls (p < 0.001).

An integrated container trial was also conducted using the germination stimulant at 10,000 ppm applied three days prior to a fungicide drench with tebuconazole or thiophanate-methyl to determine the effect of fungicides on the germinated microscleotia. The use of the germination stimulant with label rates of the fungicides lowered the number of germinated intact microsclerotia significantly (p < 0.001) especially after two drench applications. The use of the germination stimulant with fungicides could be investigated further as one method for controlling soilborne diseases of strawberry.