Effect of Soil Solarization and Methyl Bromide on Melon Wilt Caused by Fusarium on Cantaloupe in Western Mexico

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  • 1 1INIFAP, Campo Experimental Tecomán, Tecomán, Colima, 28100, México
  • | 2 2Universidad de Colima, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias, Km. 40 autopista Colima-Manzanillo, Tecomán, Colima, 28100, México

In the Pacific Central region of Mexico, 17,000 ha are cultivated with cucurbitaceous crops. Most are affected with wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. melonis. The use of fungicides, such as methyl bromide, for soil disinfecting is a common practice; however, this practice has adverse effects on beneficial microorganisms, and soil is rapidly infected again. Soil solarization is a sustainable alternative, and it is feasible to be integrated in production systems. It has been used to delay the establishment of symptoms and to reduce the incidence of fusarium wilt in watermelon fields. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of soil solarization and methyl bromide on control of fusarium wilt on cantaloupes in western Mexico. The experiment was conducted in the Ranch Fatima located in the municipality of Colima. Severe wilt incidence and damage were previously observed in the cantaloupe cultivar Impac. Dripping irrigation system was used. Treatments established were: 1) solarization; 2) solarization + vermicompost; 3) solarization + chemical products [methyl bromide + chloropicrine (98/2%)]; 4) methyl bromide; and 5) control (without solarization or chemicals). Soil solarization was done during the 6 months before planting using clear plastic mulching (110 thick). A completely randomized design with five treatments and four replications was used. Six beds, 10 m long and 1.5 m wide, were used as experimental unit. Variables registered were: leaf area, leaf number, dry and fresh weight, propagule number, soil temperature, number of diseased plants showing wilt symptoms, and yield. Treatments 1 and 3 exhibited the highest agronomic variable values, and best control of fusarium wilt and fruit yields.