The effect of inoculum density, virulency, and carrier systems of phoma sp. on biological control of giant foxtail (setaria faberi hermm.)
The effect of spore titer, virulency, and carrier systems on biological control of giant foxtail (Setaria faberi hermm.) with a species of Phoma isolated from this weed wereinvestigated. The lowest concentration of Phoma conidia which significantly affected (lowered) growth of giant foxtail was 1x106 conidia/ml. In conducting Koch's postulates, all but one (FF2) of the Phoma, isolates tested infected giant foxtail. Isolates FF1 and FF9 were the most virulent against giant foxtail. No correlation was apparent between virulency and fungus germination rate. No visible difference occurred with in vitro germination rates of spores incubated upon pea vsr water agar media; nutrient rich vs. nutrient poor media, respectively. These results suggest that Phoma spores already contain sufficient nutrients required for infection of foxtail. A definitive answer as to the effect of carrier system (e.g. surfactant, sticker, spreader, etc.) on efficacy of Phoma to infect foxtail could not be determined from results obtained, based upon statistical analysis of variance (ANOVA) for the single experiment performed. Several of the surfactant treatments (e.g. Silwet 77 and 408) did produce significant biomass losses against foxtail due to the phytotoxicity of the carrier system alone, and not reflective of fungal (Phoma) infection. Inoculation of foxtail plants with a conidial suspension amended with carriers of either Tween 20 (0.05%-0.1%) or methylcellulose (0.1%) should optimize chances for sufficient infection resulting in biological control of this weed.