Ozone treatment has many advantages for control of fungal diseases. There are no residue concerns, no registration is required, and it is non-specific, therefore potentially effective against a broad spectrum of pathogens. However, ozone is known to cause plant damage. There is little information available on either the ozone tolerance of floriculture crops or the levels required to kill plant pathogens under commercial conditions. Nine floriculture crops (begonia, petunia, Impatiens, Kalanchoe, pot roses, pot chrysanthemums, lilies, snapdragons and Alstroemeria) were subjected to increasing levels of ozone. Trials were conducted at 5 and 20 °C (90% to 95% RH) and ozone exposure was for 4 days for either 10 hours per day (simulating night treatment) or for 10 minutes every hour. Damage was assessed immediately after treatment and after an additional 3 days at room temperature in ozone-free air. Trials were terminated for the crop when an unacceptable level of damage was observed. Trials to determine the lethal dose for actively growing pathogens (Alternaria alternata, Alternaria zinniae and Botrytis cinerea) and fungal spores were conducted under identical conditions. Ozone tolerance varied with plant type and ranged between <0.2 and 3ppm. Generally, the crops surveyed were more susceptible to ozone damage at the low temperature. As a group, the bedding plants were the least tolerant. Fungal spores were killed at treatment levels between 0.8 and 2 ppm ozone. The actively growing fungal mycelium was still viable at 3 ppm ozone when the trial had to be terminated due to ozone-induced structural damage in the treatment chambers. Under the trial conditions, only the Kalanchoe would be able to tolerate the high levels of ozone required to kill the fungal spores.
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