Int. J. Biosci.15(1), 252-269, July 2019
Biological control agents (BCA) are important as some establish symbiosis with plants hence controlling plant diseases, improving plant nutrients uptake and water absorption. Use of BCA in soil borne disease management is not fully harnessed and is also faced with inconsistencies in developing their formulations. We therefore investigated the use of arbuscular mycorrhiza fungus (AMF), Glomus intraradices, and Trichoderma harzianum (T-22) against soilborne pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Lycopersici (Fol) in tomato. G. intraradices isolate 510 held on expanded clay as carrier material was incorporated into the substrate during germination of tomato seeds and at the transplanting stage. T-22 inoculum was also initiated from potato dextrose agar and inoculated at each transplanting stage, while Fol was applied through drenching. To test the possible synergistic effects, AMF and T-22 were applied in combination under varying niches. Results showed that application of AMF and T-22 together had significant reduction (30.5% p<0.005) in Fol. Tests under varying phosphorous (P) regimes revealed significant reduction in wilting symptoms by 40.3% (p<0.005) following Fol infection. Plants grown under high levels of P showed typical Fol symptoms characterized by yellowing and gradual wilting, while plants with low levels of P wilted directly without undergoing the yellowing stages. The results show the significant role of AMF and T-22 as BCA against the soil-borne pathogen Fol and contributes to development of safe and sustainable disease management strategy.
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