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Crop Protection
Volume 146, 2021, 105657

Incorporation of microorganisms to reduce chemical fungicide usage in black sigatoka control programs in Costa Rica by use of biological fungicides

Patrick Beckera,b, Paul Eskerc,d, Gerardina Umaņae

Programa Posgrado en Ciencias Agrícolas y Recursos Naturales, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, 11501-2060, Costa Rica.


Control of Black sigatoka, one of the most destructive diseases affecting the banana industry worldwide, requires frequent chemical fungicide treatments, thus greatly increasing production costs. Due to increasing pathogen resistance to fungicides and negative environmental impacts, alternative control methods need to be incorporated into management programs. Spores of Bacillus subtilis, Trichoderma harzianum, and an extract of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Agro-Mos®), all biological pesticides were rotated with traditional chemical fungicides (chlorothalonil and mancozeb). It was possible thereby to reduce the total chemical pesticide use by 25%. To determine the effects under different climatic conditions, the first trial was conducted during the wet season and the second trial during the dry season. Disease severity was recorded, every week for 20 weeks, in all plants during each trial. In all treatment groups, disease severity was significantly lower (P < 0.05) for both wet and dry seasons. Programs including B. subtilis and Agro-Mos® resulted in lower growth of the pathogen for all measured disease symptoms. Results suggest that the incorporation of efficacious biological products could help lower the use of chemical fungicides while still maintaining the same level of control on the development of Black sigatoka.

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