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Arturo García, Xicotencatl Morentín, and J. Farias-Larios

Organic production is a manner of food production whereby people relate to nature to produce healthy food in a sustainable way. Access to the organic food market requires a guarantee that the product complies with the standards and principles established by the moral and legal authorities of organic production. In Latin America, Mexico is the greatest exporter of organic products, mainly coffee. Sales are estimated at nearly 500 million dollars, and certified field surface is 15,000 ha. The objective of this work is to show the certification process of organic production carried at Colima state. The University of Colima Organic Production Certifying Committee (CUCEPRO) is an organic production certification agency, a nonprofit organization, operating since 1993. Furthermore, CUCEPRO promotes organic production, a viable alternative and offer important information on the basic principles of organic production, the procedures which producers need to go through to have their product certified organic. CUCEPRO took part in the determination of the Mexican Quality Control Norms NOM-037-FITO-1995. This agency is constituted by Univ. of Colima teachers and researchers with great expertise on the different areas and processes of organic production. Certification takes between one and 2.5 months depending on distance, kinds of analyses, and seal production and issuing. In the last years CUCEPRO has certified more 3000 hectares of products such as coffee, sesame seed, banana, and mango, as well as honey, compost, and biological pesticides. Certification demand steadily increased due to reliability and confidence on CUCEPRO and to increased acceptance of organic products on the other.

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J. Farias-Larios, M. Orozco, S. Guzman, and J. Perez

This work was conducted for evaluate the influence of clear and black polyethylene mulches, used alone or combined with floating rowcover (FRC) and plastic perforated microtunnels, on insect populations, growth and yield of muskmelon. Treatments evaluated were 1) clear plastic + FRC, 2) polyethylene perforated microtunnel, 3) clear plastic + polyethylene not perforated microtunnel, 4) black plastic + FRC, 5) clear plastic, 6) black polyethylene, 7) clear plastic + oil, and 8) bare soil. Aphids and sweetpotato whitefly adults and nymphs were completely excluded by floating rowcovers while the plots covered. The export and national quality fruit yield was major in the mulched beds in relation to control. Clear polyethylene mulch + FRC increased number of fruit and export marketable fruit of cantaloupe (45.2% and 44.8%) with respect to black plastic + FRC, respectively. It is proposed that, under tropical conditions and under high insect stress, mulches combined with floating rowcovers should be selected for their effects on insects in addition to their effects on melon yield. Polyethylene microtunnels were found not economical for cantaloupe production in western Mexico.

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César Guzmán-Loza, J. Farías-Larios, and J.G. López-Aguirre

Use of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (MA) on horticultural plant production has great potential as a biotechnological alternative; however, information on its effects on the early growth phase of honeydew melon is lacking. Nevertheless, it would seem that inoculation at the time of sowing would decrease the stress of transplant, improve root vigor, make plants grow faster, improve drought resistance, and lessen the effect of roots diseases. In this study, we evaluated the effects of inoculating honeydew melon seedlings with two commercial formulations of MA fungi at different study times in an effort to select for higher resistance and infective capacity. `Moonshine' hybrid melon seeds were sown in trials with 200 cavities containing specific doses of inoculate: 0, 100, 200, 250, 500, and 1000 cc/trial of BuRIZE, Mycorrhiza NES. A factorial design was used (formulations and study times) with a randomized distribution and four replications. Four destructive samples were taken at 10, 15, 20, and 25 days after inoculations. Number of leaves, shoot fresh weight, dry weight, root fresh weight, foliar area, and mycorrhizal colonization were recorded. Results obtained showed a highly significant effect between commercial formulations and study times and an interaction of both factors to studied variables. Mycorrhizal colonization percentages were too low (0.3% to 1.7%). At 20 days after inoculations, it was possible to see all the components of functional arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis on melon plants roots. Using commercial formulations of mycorrhizal fungi decreased applications of fertilizers in melon plants.

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J. Farias-Larios, S. Guzman-Gonzalez, and A. Michel-Rosales

The productivity of marginal soils frequently found in the arid tropics might be improved by using VAM fungi as “biofertilizer” and as a tool of sustainable agricultural systems. Study of mycorrhizas of fruit trees was performed in 1987 in western Mexico. More progress has been made in resources, taxonomy, anatomy and morphology, physiology, ecology, effects, and application of mycorrhizas in fruit trees and ornamental plants production. Currently, five genera has been identified and inoculated plants showed significant difference in respect to plants not inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi. Citrus trees were highly dependent on mycorrhizae for normal growth and development, while the banana plants showed lower levels of root colonization by different strains of VAM fungi. The added endomycorrhizal inoculum significantly increased root fungal colonization in fruit trees and reduce the time in nursery. The current status and research trends in the study of fruit tree mycorrhizas in western Mexico are introduced, and the application prospects in sustainable agriculture also are discussed.

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J. Farias-Larios, M. Orozco, S. Guzman, and A. Gutiirrez

Sweetpotato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci Gennadius) is one of the serious pests on cucurbits and causes injury by sucking sap and by the transmission of virus. In Western Mexico, melon and other vegetable crops have been subjected to losses as a results of whitefly feeding and whitefly-transmitted virus infection. Traditional control is based in the Metamidophos and Endosulfan applications (more than 10 times). Recently, Imidacloprid has been reported as new alternative to whitefly control. Thus, this study was conducted to determine the effect of Imidacloprid under different applications methods on sweetpotato whitefly populations and cantaloupe yield. Ten treatments were evaluated: 1) seed + basal stem, 2) seed + soil at 8 cm, 3) seed + soil (near to seed), 4) seed + soil (seedlings emergence), 5) seed only, 6) basal stem, 7) soil (plant emerged), 8) foliage, 9) Metamidophos and Endosulfan (regional application), and 10) control, without application. These were arranged in a randomized complete-block design with four replications. Each replication had four beds 7.5 m long. Number of whitefly adults was determined weekly on 24 plants selected at random for each treatment (two leaves/plant). At 22, 39, 57, and 73 days after showing, the whitefly nymphs/cm2 were also counted. Imidacloprid applied to foliage five times showed the best whitefly control during the entire crop season, reducing injury and increasing melon yield at 1346.7 cartons/ha, while Metamidophos and Endosulfan showed an intermediate effect (1073.6 cartons/ha).

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J. Farías-Larios, M. Orozco-Santos, and N.R. Ramírez-Vazquez

Bemisia argentifolii is a major pest of melon crop in key production areas of Mexico. Foliar applications of chemical insecticides for their management have been ineffective. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the use of commercial formulations of Beauveria bassiana and different rates for biological control of silverleaf whitefly in cantaloupe melon grown under tropical conditions. Experimental plots were treated with three rates of Mycotrol ES and only an of Naturalis-L or Endosulfan as conventional insecticide. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete-block design with four replicates. Effects of the treatments on B. argentifolii larval and adult populations and the amount of damage to the foliage and yield melon were recorded. There was not a significant difference between Mycotrol ES rates in nymphs and adults killed. Mycotrol ES, Naturalis and Endosulfan have a similar effect on nymphs and adults control. The nontreated control melon plants had significantly greater number of silverleaf whitefly nymphs and adults than Mycotrol ES, Naturalis-L and Endosulfan treatments. Also, marketable yield was lower for the nontreated control melon plants due to higher whitefly infestations. Results from this study indicate that B. bassiana use resulted in consistently lower whitefly infestations compared to the control. The field results are promising and confirmed the potential of B. bassiana as a microbial control agent against B. argentifolii in melon crop under tropical conditions.

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J.G. Lopez-Aguirre, J. Molina-Ochoa, J. Farias-Larios, S. Guzman-Gonzalez, and A. Michel-Rosales

Amelioration and/or reclamation of saline and non-saline soils is based on the application of high quantities of agrochemical products or high volumes of water, which causes an injury in soil or downward displacement of nutrients to the lower layers in soils. Research was conducted to evaluate the effect of application of citric industry waste on saline and non-saline soil. The waste has an electrical conductivity (EC) of 2.7 dS/m and pH of 3–4.2, 35% is organic material that is readily decomposed. This experiment was carried out on field conditions using applications of three different volumes, T1 = 3200, T2 = 6400, and T3 = 9600 m3·ha–1·m–1 and a control, no-waste, (T0), using just irrigation water (EC = 2.5 dS·m–1). The same treatments were added to non-saline soil. Effect of citric industry waste application in both saline and non-saline soils was similar. In all the treatments, EC was decreased with respect to T0 and soil before application (BA), the largest decrease was found in T3. pH decreased in the top soil layer much more than in the bottom layers. Ions were decreased in all soil profile. Organic matter (OM) was increased in the profile in treatment T1 with respect to treatment T0, as well as in the top soil layers in T2 and T3, but no changes were detected in the remainder of the layers in treatments T2 and T3. We can suggest that the waste studied can be used in the amelioration of saline and non-saline soils.

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J. Farías-Larios, J.G. López-Aguirre, J.L. Miranda, and L.A. Bayardo-Vizcaino

Acerola (Malpighia glabra L.) is a small, red fruit that is native to the West Indies, but is also grown in South and Central America. In western Mexico, this crop is very important because acerola is the richest known natural source of vitamin C, with a content of 1000 to 4500 mg/100 g of fruit. In nursery and field conditions, acerola growth is severely affected by root-knot nematode. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of commercial formulations of Bacillus spp. on root-knot nematode management. This study was carried out in the Farm Santa Clara Maria in Colima State. Acerola plants, 60 days old were used. They were grown in 3-L pots with soil, compost, and pumice stone mixture as substrate. Treatments evaluated were: 5, 10, 15 and 30 mL/pot of Activate 2001, Tri-Mat (5 mL/pot) and control, without application. Activate 2001® is a concentrated liquid in water suspension of Bacillus chitinosporus, B. laterosporus, and B. licheniformis. Initial nematode population was of 3,305 in 50 g of roots. Acerola plants were harvested at 30, 60, and 90 days after application. Results show that Activate 2001 at 10 and 30 mL rates reduce significantly root-knot populations in acerola plants 60 days after application with 135 and 178 nematodes/50 g of roots, respectively. Diameter stem, shoot fresh and dry weight and root production were also increased by rhizobacteria application. These results are promising and confirmed the potential of Bacillus as a biological agent for nematode management.

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J. Farias Larios, J. G. López Aguirre, E. Rincón Cruz, and F. Radillo Juarez

Since 1980, farmers from western Mexico have cultivated melon cantaloupe; however, during the past few years, they have seen the better advantages of honeydew melon. Some of them represent a good alternative to farmers because chemical products and labor costs are reduced, and because they are tolerant to several diseases. The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate 15 new hybrids of honeydew melon in western Mexico. The hybrids evaluated were: Dey Break, Hmx 4596, Hmx 4595, Hmx 4607, Sunex 7051, Rocio, creme de menthe, Silver world, Emerald sweet, Sme 5303, Sme 5302, Santa Fé, PSR 10994, and PSR 8994, Honey Brew was test. Fifteen -day-old plants were transplanted by hand. Treatments were replicated four times in a randomized complete-block design. Beds 1.2 m wide and 7.0 m long were prepared, 1.5 m between beds, distance plant-plant 0.5 m (plant density ≈13,332 plant/ha). Results show that yield of SME 5302, SME 5303, HMX 4596, Rocío, Dey Break, PSR 8994, Sunex 7051, and HMX 4607 had a yield higher of 50 t/ha, Emerad sweet had more number fruit (59 per 10 plants), whereas SME 5303, SME 5302 and Silver world had higher fruit weight (>1.719 gr). We suggest the evaluation of these hybrids in other regions to know the adaptation to different conditions and to select the best in commercial quality and production.

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Roney Ballinas-Cano, Javie Farias-Larios, Mario Orozco-Santos, J. Gerardo López-Aguirre*, and Emilio Sánchez-Arevalo

Soil solarization is used for soil born pathogens control, as a result of temperature increase in soil, around 10 °C higher than in not solarized soils. In Mexico, is mostly used to decrease cost to control of different diseases that affect to melon crop, one of them is caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. melonis (L & C) Snyder & Hansen, which is characterized by wilt and yellowing in melon plants. The objective of this assay was to evaluate the effect of heat on infective capacity of F. oxysporum f. sp. melonis in melon plants and its reproduction capacity after to be under different periods of heat under laboratory conditions. Isolated was taken from melon plants from Carmelitas Ranch in the Colima Municipality. Inoculation was 1 × 10-6 conidia concentration. Cloth bags, with 20 g of inoculated soil, were introduced at 9 cm depth in metallic pots (16 cm diameter and 18 cm depth) containing 4 kg of not inoculated soil during 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h, with 6 replications. After each period, 1 g was taken from the cloth bags used in heat treatments, later was diluted in 50 mL of distillated water, and petri dishes containing PDA, were inoculated with 1 mL from that dilution and inoculum viability was registered at 96 h after incubation. Parameters evaluated were: mycelium growth, propagule number, and conidia number. Results showed a positive effect to control of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. melonis, in treatments with a higher heat period, respecting to the control. Is necessary to evaluate this technique under field conditions during summer season.