Date of Award

12-2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Plant and Environmental Science

Advisor

Zehnder, Geoffrey W

Committee Member

Boudreau , Mark A

Committee Member

Keinath , Anthony P

Committee Member

Kerrigan , Julia L

Abstract

The efficacy of compost tea was evaluated and compared alone and in combination with two biofungicides Serenade Max and Sonata for control of early blight caused by the fungal pathogen Alternaria tomatophila on tomato Solanum lycopersicum (L), heirloom cultivar `Cherokee Purple'. Results of field experiments over two growing seasons indicated that compost tea provided a low level of protection against early blight. The results were variable; most likely due to dry conditions and the presence of bacterial wilt the first year and tomato spotted wilt virus the second year. In both 2006 and 2007 field trials compost tea was not statistically significant compared to the water control and other biofungicide treatments. Furthermore, in the field experiments, combination with commercial biofungicides Serenade Max and Sonata did not appear to improve the effectiveness of compost tea. In contrast, greenhouse disease control efficacy trials and pathogen germination laboratory experiments demonstrated significant effects of compost tea against the tomato early blight pathogen A tomatophila. Furthermore, results indicated that the efficacy of compost tea was improved when combined with the biofungicides. These results indicate that the use of compost tea for control of tomato early blight disease may be of some benefit to greenhouse tomato growers, and to growers of organic field tomatoes who are limited in their disease management options.

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