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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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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, 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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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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S. Guzman, H. Alejandro, J. Farias, A. Michel, and G. Lopez

Watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris Schrad.) is a widely grown crop throughout the tropics and subtropics. In Mexico, it is an economically important crop. In vitro adventitious shoot regeneration of watermelon has been reported from shoot tip culture, leaf, hypocotyl, and cotyledons. Hence, the objective of this study was to evaluate in vitro plant regeneration from axillary buds of triploid watermelon. Axillary buds explants were prepared from shoot of commercial cultivar in field of 60 old day plants. Explants of 2 to 3 mm were incubated 2 weeks on Murashige and Skoog (MS) shoot regeneration medium containing 2.5 mg/L kinetin (KT) or indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), or gibberellic acid (GA3), followed by 3 weeks on shoot elongation medium supplemented with different combinations of the same phytohormones. The percentage of explants (83% to 90%) that produced shoots, expansion in size of explant (0.81–1 cm) and shoot length (6 mm) were highest in MS medium containing KT or IBA. In the shoot elongation step, shoot length (0.9–1 cm) and leaves number (6–7) were highest in MS medium supplemented with 2.5 mg/L of KT or GA3 and 0.2 mg/L IBA, but the better induction of roots in elongated shoot occurred on MS medium with 2.5 mg/L KT and 0.2 mg/L IBA. The results show that axillary buds from watermelon is an alternative for the micropropagation of this crop.

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G.S. Guzman, I.C.A Alvarez, and L.J. Farias

In the commercial production of silver king plants and other ornate plants, the substrates are treated with fungicides, which affect the vesicular–arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi and the plant growth negatively. The restoration of de VAM fungi to the substrate, after its disinfection, might improvement the development. The effectiveness and infectiveness of Glomus fasciculatum and Glomus aggregatum on silver king (Aglaonema commutatum) plants was evaluated in this work. Seedlings of 4-week-old, growing treated with mancozeb, were removed and planted in pots filled with a disinfected mixture of sand soil, cow manure and coconut powder (1:2:2), containing the inoculum of VAM fungi (soil with spores and colonized roots). After 3 and 4 months of the inoculation, plants were removed and dry weight of roots and shoot, number and length of leaves, and mycorrhizal colonization were evaluated. A better development was showed in plants inoculated, resulting highest values in number and length of leaves in relation to control plants. Both VAM fungi improvement the number and length of leaves. The percentage root length colonized (80%) and visual density of endophyte in roots was highest in plants inoculated with Glomus aggregatum in both sampling period.

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M. Arias-Gonzalez, J. Farias, S. Guzman, and A. Michel

Our purpose was to evaluate the vegetative growth and flowering of African violet (Saintpauila ionantha) grown in seven soils subtrates under greenhouse conditions. The following were tested: river lime, pine ushers, black clay, oak soil, peatmoss, Canadian peatmoss, and a compost soil. Pots were in a fully randomized experimental design with seven treatments, and four replications was used. A monthly 10N–20P–10K fertilization was applied to potted plants. The study lasted for 135 days, taking data every 15 days on leaf perimeter, length and elasticity of the petiole, plant height, and leaf color. Best vegetative growth was observed with oak and canadian peat moss due to their high capacity to hold water and their very good aeration. Least vegetative growth was observed with black clay, where plants failed to flower. Other substrates did not show differences in plant growth.

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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. 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.