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Bielinski M. Santos and James P. Gilreath

Among the current methyl bromide alternatives under study, propylene oxide (Propozone) has shown potential to control soilborne diseases, nematodes, and weeds in polyethylene-mulched tomato. However, further research is needed to determine the appropriate application rates to control nutsedge in the crop. Also, the effect of this fumigant on tomato nutrient absorption has not been determined yet. Therefore, field trials were conducted for this purpose in Bradenton, Fla. Tested rates of Propozone were 0, 190, 380, 570, 760, and 950 L·ha–1 and were shank-applied in raised planting beds three weeks before `Florida 47' tomato transplanting. Examined data indicated that there was a rapid decrease in nutsedge density with 570 L·ha–1. For phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) foliar content, there was a linear increase of P concentrations as rate increase, whereas K content increased rapidly after 190 L·ha–1. The highest tomato yields were obtained with 760 and 950 L·ha–1 of Propozone.

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James S. Gerik

Field trials were conducted to test fumigants as alternatives to methyl bromide (MB) for production of hybrid freesia (Freesia × hybrida). One trial compared rates of 1,3-dichloropropene (DP) combined with chloropicrin (CP); the second trial compared iodomethane (IM) together with CP, DP:CP, and furfural with and without metham sodium; and the third trial compared rates and formulations of IM:CP to the standard MB:CP treatments. Most treatments reduced populations of Pythium spp. and controlled weeds compared to the untreated controls. Formulations of IM:CP reduced the incidence of disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum. Treatments of IM:CP performed as well as MB:CP, and treatments of DP:CP performed as well as IM:CP. Presently only the DP, CP and metham sodium formulations are registered for use on ornamental crops. Registration of the IM formulations will improve the options available to cut flower growers for management of plant pathogens and weeds.

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Krista C. Shellie and Robert L. Mangan

`Dancy' tangerines (Citrus reticulata Blanco) were harvested after color break and exposed to high-temperature forced air (HTFA) at 45C for 3.5 or 4 h to kill Mexican fruit fly [Anastrepha ludens (Loew)] larvae. Heat-treated and control fruit were stored subsequently for 2 weeks at 4C. Tangerines harvested after color break (naturally degreened) tolerated exposure to HTFA in a similar fashion as tangerines harvested before color break and degreened by postharvest exposure to ethylene. Titratable acidity (TA) was significantly lower after heat treatments. Flavor, soluble solids concentration, external appearance, incidence of decay, percent juice yield, percent weight change, and flavedo color of heat-treated fruit were not different from nonheat-treated, control fruit. Exposure to HTFA is a viable alternative to methyl bromide for disinfestation of `Dancy' tangerine.

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Ryan R.P. Noble, C.S. Charron, and C.E. Sams

The development of alternative methods for control of soilborne pathogens is imperative since the U.S. Clean Air Act bans the use of methyl bromide after 2005. One possibility is to exploit the pesticidal properties of compounds released by macerated Brassica tissues. In this study, masked chaffer beetle larvae were placed in sealed 473-mL jars with 335 g of soil amended with 1%, 2%, 4%, or 8% (g·g–1) Brassica tissue. The most prevalent volatile toxic compound of Brassica juncea (PI 458934) is allyl isothiocyanate (AITC). AITC production was measured in the jars at 0.25, 4, 8, 24, and 48 h using a solid-phase microextraction device (SPME) and gas chromatography. After 7 days, larvae mortality was determined. Control treatments included untreated soil, soil amended with 8% tomato plant tissue, soil amended with pure AITC, and untreated soil with an atmosphere of ≈20% O2 and 0% CO2 changing over 48 h to 2% O2 and 20% CO2. AITC levels were positively correlated to larvae mortality. The estimated lethal concentration for 50% kill (LC50) was 3.6 μg AITC/L soil atmosphere. AITC levels may be influenced by Brassica mass added, soil bulk density, and environmental factors including temperature and moisture. B. juncea has a high tissue AITC concentration. However, the mass of Brassica tissue required for insecticidal application against Cyclocephala sp. is also high, between 4% and 8% of soil mass. Development and selection of Brassica species that produce higher concentrations of isothiocyanate would increase the effectiveness of Brassica biofumigation as an alternative to methyl bromide for controlling soilborne insects.

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Bielinski M. Santos, James P. Gilreath, Myriam N. Siham, and Camille E. Esmel

In Florida, nutsedge (Cyperus spp.) is a major weed problem in mulched-vegetable production. As methyl bromide (MBr) is phased out, alternatives are essential for growers. However, because of critical use exemptions, growers will still be able to use restricted amounts of MBr. Therefore, using highly-retentive mulch, such as virtually impermeable film (VIF), can reduce fumigant loss and may allow rate reduction without compromising efficacy. Preliminary studies have shown that metalized mulches can be an alternative to VIF. However, further studies are needed to compare MBr retention properties and nutsedge control of high density polyethylene (HDPE) mulch, VIF, and metalized mulch. Two field studies were conducted in spring 2005, in Ruskin, Florida. Metalized and HDPE mulches, and VIF were combined with the following rates of MBr + chloropicrin (Pic) (67/33, w/w): 175 and 350 lb/acre. Methyl bromide retention was evaluated in soil air samples at 1, 2, 4, and 6 days after treatment (DAT). Nutsedge plants were counted at 2, 4, 7, 9, and 12 weeks after treatment (WAT). Data were examined with regression analysis to establish the relationship between the time and both MBr concentration and nutsedge densities. Concentration of MBr + Pic under either the metalized mulch or VIF was about 6 times higher than under HDPE at 5 DAT, regardless of the MBr + Pic rate. At 12 WAT, nutsedge population was <1 plant/50 ft row with metalized and VIF and 175 lb/acre of MBr + Pic, whereas about 25 plants/50 ft row were present with 350 lb/acre of the fumigant and HPDE. The weed population reached >100 plants/50 ft row with 175 lb/acre of MBr + Pic. These findings demonstrate that metalized and VIF mulches can provide effective control of nutsedge with one-half of the commercially used MBr + Pic rate.

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S.D. Nelson, C. Riegel, L.H. Allen Jr., D.W. Dickson, J. Gan, S.J. Locascio, and D.J. Mitchell

One of the proposed alternative chemicals for methyl bromide is 1,3-D. The most common forms of 1,3-D products are cis- or trans-isomers of 1,3-D with the fungicidal agent, chloropicrin, containing such mixtures as 65% 1,3-D and 35% chloropicrin (C-35). Soil fumigants are commonly applied under a polyethylene film in Florida raised bed vegetable production. Much of the research regarding cropping system effects of alternative fumigants to methyl bromide has focused primarily on plant growth parameters, with little regard to the atmospheric fate of these chemicals. The objective of this research was to determine both the atmospheric emission of 1,3-D under different plastic film treatments and to evaluate effects of application rates of 1,3-D and C-35 on plant pests, growth, and yield of Sunex 9602 summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.). Results showed that use of a high barrier polyethylene film (or virtually impermeable film - VIF) greatly reduced fumigant emission compared to ground cover with conventional polyethylene films or uncovered soil. Summer squash seedling survival was a severe problem in several of the 1,3-D alone treatments where no fungicidal agent was added, whereas C-35 resulted in excellent disease control at both full and one-half of the recommended application rates for this chemical. Both 1,3-D and C-35 provided good plant stands and higher yields when applied at their recommended application rates. However, all squash yields were lower than typical squash production levels due to late planting and early winter frost kill. Chemical names used: 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D); trichloronitropropene (chloropicrin).

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Kirk D. Larson, Douglas V. Shaw, and Jerry Sterrett

Three preplant soil fumigation treatments were applied to a strawberry fruit production field in Summer 1993: 1) a mixture of 67 methyl bromide: 33 chloropicrin (wt/wt, 392 kg·ha–1) (MBC); 2) chloropicrin (trichloronitromethane, 336 kg·ha–1) followed by metam sodium (935 liters·ha–1) CMS); and 3) nonfumigation (NF). Bare-rooted `Camarosa' strawberry plants were established in each treatment on 1 Nov. in annual hill culture. Plant mortality was <1%; thus, differences in growth and productivity among treatments were due to sublethal effects of competitive soil organisms. Fruit yields were recorded weekly from 14 Jan. to 23 May 1994. For the NF treatment, early season (January–March), late season (April–May), and total yields were 86%, 69%, and 72%, respectively, of those of the MBC treatment. Early season yields were greatest for the MBC treatment, but late and total yields were greatest for the CMS treatment. From Jan. through May 1994, 20 plants were destructively harvested from each treatment at about monthly intervals for determination of leaf (LDW), crown (CDW), and root dry weight (RDW). For a given date, LDW, CDW, and RDW of plants in the MBC and CMS treatments were greater than those of the NF plants. From January to March, plants in the NF treatment allocated a proportionally greater amount of dry matter to roots, and proportionally less dry matter to crowns and leaves than fumigated plants. In April and May, root: shoot ratios were similar for all three treatments. These data demonstrate the marked influence of soil fumigation treatment on yield and dry matter partitioning of strawberry, and suggest that combinations of chloropicrin and metam sodium may be a viable, albeit expensive, alternative to fumigation with methyl bromide.

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Theodore Webster and A. Culpepper

Halosulfuron is an alternative to methyl bromide for managing nutsedges (Cyperus spp.) in several vegetable crops. Field studies were conducted to evaluate eggplant growth and yield when halosulfuron was applied through drip-irrigation before transplant at four rates (0, 26, 39, or 52 g·ha–1 a.i.) or following transplant (26 g·ha–1 applied 1, 2, or 3 weeks after transplant) in spring and fall crops in 2002 and 2003. Inverse linear relationships were observed between rate of halosulfuron and eggplant growth and rate of halosulfuron and eggplant yield. Halosulfuron at 52 g·ha–1 reduced eggplant growth (crop height and canopy width) 19% to 22%. Eggplant fruit biomass at the first harvest was reduced 37% to 63% by halosulfuron applied before transplant. Eggplant was capable of recovering from the initial injury and there was no effect of halosulfuron rate on fruit biomass at the final harvest. Total season fruit biomass was reduced ≤4% from halosulfuron at 39 g·ha–1, while halosulfuron at 52 g·ha–1 reduced fruit biomass 33%. Delay in application of halosulfuron to 3 weeks after transplant (WAT) resulted in ≤7% reduction in fruit biomass and number for the entire season. When halosulfuron was applied 1 WAT, fruit biomass at the first two harvests was reduced >33%, however total season harvest from this treatment was >99% of the yield from the nontreated control. This preliminary study indicates that halosulfuron injected through drip tape may have the potential to assist in the replacement of methyl bromide for nutsedge management in eggplant. However, there are many issues that must be addressed and studied before adopting this practice in eggplant.

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T.K. Hartz, J.E. DeVay, and C.L. Elmore

Soil solarization, alone and combined with metam sodium (MS), was evaluated as an alternative to methyl bromide and chloropicrin (MBC) fumigation, the standard soil disinfestation technique in the California strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) industry. Tests were conducted in two consecutive annual production cycles in Irvine, Calif., an environment representative of the coastal strawberry production area. Solarization treatments were applied from late July through September for October plantings. Treatments were equally effective in reducing baited populations of Phytophthora cactorum [(Lebert and Cohn) J. Schröt] (1989-90) and P. citricola Sawada (1990-91) when compared to pathogen survival in nontreated soil. Solarization and MBC reduced Verticillium dahliae Kleb inocnlnm in 1989-90, but MBC gave superior control in 1990-91. Solarization significantly controlled annual weeds, but was less effective than MBC. In 1989-90, solarization alone increased strawberry yield 12 % over the yield of nontreated plots; when combined with MS, yield increase was 29%, equivalent to that achieved with MBC fumigation. Treatments were equally effective in increasing yields in the 1990-91 test. Chemical names used: sodium N -methyldithiocarbamate (metam sodium), chloropicrin nitrotrichloromethane (chloropicrin).

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Chinthaka Karunaratne, Graham A. Moore, Rodney B. Jones, and Robert F. Ryan

Phosphine (PH3) is a potential alternative fumigant to methyl bromide for insect disinfestation of cut flowers. King protea (Protea cynaroides L.), tulip (Tulipa gesneriana `Apeldoorn'), kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos manglesii Hook.), and geraldton wax (Chamelaucium uncinatum `Purple Pride') were fumigated with PH3 at varying concentrations (100 to 8000 μL·L-1) for 2, 4, or 6 hours. Vase life was evaluated at 20 °C, 65% relative humidity, and constant illumination with a photosynthetically active radiation of 15 μmol·m-2·S-1. No significant change in vase life was observed for kangaroo paws after any of the PH3 fumigations. A 6-hour fumigation at 8000 μL·L-1 significantly reduced vase life in king protea, tulip, and geraldton wax flower. Geraldton wax flower and tulip were relatively sensitive to PH3, as they were damaged by 4000 μL·L-1 for 6 hours and 8000 μL·L-1 for 4 hours, respectively. Phosphine has potential as an insect disinfestation fumigant for king protea, tulip, and kangaroo paw at 4000 (μL·L-1 for 6 hours without affecting vase life or causing damage.