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Javier Farias-Larios, Mario Orozco-Santos, and Salvador Guzman-Gonzalez

Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) is the major cucurbit crop in the Colima state, Mexico. The use transparent plastic mulch continues to increase in that region for high production technology systems of muskmelon, and more recently floating rowcovers were introduced to protect cucurbits from insects (direct pests or vector of viruses) and to increase yield of cucurbit crops. During 1993, yield was evaluated of three cultivars of muskmelon (`Crushier', `Laguna', and `Durango') growing on transparent polyethylene mulch alone or with floating rowcover. The cultivar Crushier showed the higher yield 40 ton/ha (77% for export market), followed by `Durango' with 28.5 ton (77% for export quality) and `Laguna' with about 23 ton (only 40% of export fruit). There was no significant difference in yield between cultivar growth on transparent mulch plots alone and combined with floating rowcover. Also, floating rowcover excluded (until perfect flowering) beetles leafminers, sweetpotato whitefly, and aphids, reducing the use of insecticide by 50%.

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Mario Orozco-Santos, Javier Farías-Larios, Jaime Molina-Ochoa, and José Gerardo López-Aguirre

Melon wilt (MW) is one of the main diseases affecting the cucurbitaceous crops in the Pacific Central region of Mexico. The use of resistant varieties is the most effective strategy to reduce the damage caused by MW; however, variety performance depends on the fungal race occurring in the field. The use of fungicides, such as benzimidazols and methyl bromide, is a common practice, but there are contamination concerns, and a search is on for alternatives to diminish the negative effects on the agro-ecosystem. The aim was to determine the effect of the application of soil amendments and mulching on the incidence of MW, and on melon yield. Soil amendments incorporated were: rice straw (3 t·ha-1); compost 1, prepared with chicken and bovine manure, and banana and orange wastes (5.7 t·ha-1); compost 2, prepared with bovine and horse manure, coconut wastes and grasses (8 t·ha-1), vermicompost (3 t·ha-1), and a control. All treatments were established using transparent mulching during 21 days. The number of MW propagules in amended soils were similar at 5, 10, and 20 cm deep, but the percentage of diseased plants was higher (4.5%) in the control, which could be caused by the incidence of other fungi propagules, perhaps antagonistic, that contributed in diminishing the MW when compared with the control. The fruit weights and fruit sizes were not different between treatments on small (21–30 sizes), medium (15–18 sizes), and large (9–12 sizes), but total fruit numbers were 1.15-, 1.07-, 0.99-, and 1.09-fold higher when compared with the control. The application of soil amendments affected the antagonistic fungal populations even when it did not affect the cantaloupe yield. We suggest that soil amendments will improve soil fertility and increase melon yields, and studies are currently running.

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Mario Orozco-Santos, Javier Farias-Larios, J. Gerardo López-Aguirre*, Emilio Sánchez-Arévalo, and Jaime Molina-Ochoa

In Central Pacific region, Mexico, are cultivated around 17,000 ha of cucurbitaceous. This crops are affected by wilt, this disease is caused by Fusarium oxysporum (F.o.) Schlechtend. Some farmers are using resistant varieties to this disease, but resistance is different to each cultivar. Soil fumigation is other way to control this pathogen. Soil solarization is a new alternative for Fusarium oxysporum control. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effect of soil solarization on Fusarium oxysporum for wilt control in muskmelon crop in Colima State. The experiment was carried out under field conditions, using Cantaloupe melon (Cucumis melo L.) Cv. Ovation, in Ixtla-huacán municipality during November-December. Clear plastic was used (thickness 110). Evaluation of solarization periods were 0, 10, 20, and 30 days. Experimental design was full random blocks, with four replications. Evaluated variables were: soil temperature at 5-,10-, and 20-cm soil depth, propagule number of Fusarium oxysporum in soil, wilt incidence and yield. For determine Fusarium oxysporum survival, a strain isolated from infected plants was used. Fungi was introduced in cloth bags, containing 10 gr of sterile sand with 10 mL of a suspension of 19,000 conidia/mL. Later were introduced four cloth bags per treatment at 5-,10-, and 20-cm soil depth. When plants were harvested, was taken the sick plants percentage. Results shown that soil solarization periods had not an effect on the propagule number at the soil depth for the solarization periods. Also soil solarization had not and effect on plant yield. Is necessary to do the same experiment during different season, as June-July or September-October, to have a higher soil temperature and humidity.

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Mario Orozco-Santos, Javier Farías-Larios, José Gerardo López-Aguirre, and Jaime Molina-Ochoa

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.

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Mario Orozco-Santos, Javier Farías-Larios, Jaime Molina-Ochoa, and José Gerardo López-Aguirre

Development of resistance to chemical pesticides has been reported in about 150 plant pathogenic species, mostly fungi. Biocontrol of plant pathogens is an alternative to chemical pesticides. Actually, there are products formulated with beneficial microorganisms, such as mycorrhizal fungi, rhizobacteria, antagonistic fungi, and others. The objective was to evaluate the development of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. melonis (FOM) on melon plants inoculated with commercial biological formulations based on beneficial microorganisms. Twelve treatments were evaluated: T1) VAM media nursery + FOM; T2) Hortic Plus + FOM; T3) BioPak F + FOM; T4) Glomus intraradices + FOM; T5) FOM; T6) control; T7) VAM media nursery; T8) Hortic Plus; T9) BioPak F; T10) Glomus intraradices; T11) FOM + Mancozeb wp80; and T12) FOM + BioPak F. The melon cultivar used was `Colima' (Peto Seed Co.). Seeds were planted in Styrofoam growing containers containing coconut fiber powder as substrate. One seed was planted per cell and maintained until transplanting. Plants were transplanted to pots containing sterile soils 13 days postemergence. Inoculation of treatments with Fusarium was made with a concentrated suspension at 1 × 106 conidia/mL. For inoculation with beneficial microorganisms, manufacturer specifications were followed. A completely randomized design with 12 treatments and 12 replications was used to estimate the incidence of Fusarium, number of leaves, leaf area, root biomass, and percentage of roots colonized by mycorrhizal fungi. Overall, T10 showed the best behavior in all variables. Inoculation of cantaloupe plants with Fusarium affected their performance, but those treatments including mycorrhizal fungi enhanced their performance withstanding the damage by Fusarium.

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Mario Orozco-Santos, Felipe Delgadillo-Sanchez, Miguel Arenas-Varga, and Javier Farias-Larios

Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) infection causes heavy losses in cucurbit crops grown in the Mediterranean, Central Europe, the United States, and Mexico. Recently, ZYMV was found affecting muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) in Colima, Mexico. An experiment was carried out under dry tropical conditions with the objectives: 1) to determine the effect of ZYMV on flowering and yield of muskmelon cv. Primo, and 2) to evaluate its transmission by some aphid species. Perfect and staminate flowers were significantly reduced when ZYMV was inoculated during vegetative growth, flowering, and fruit set. ZYMV affected yield when it was inoculated from vegetative growth to flowering and fruit set. In plants inoculated during vegetative growth the yield was null, while those inoculated at early flowering and fruit set the yield was reduced by 80% and 49%, respectively. The yield was not affected when ZYMV was inoculated on fruit growth. The aphid Myzus persicae, Aphis gossypii, A. spiraecola, and Uroleucon ambrosia-transmited ZYMV from Cucurbita pepo to Cucumis melo; but Aphis nert, did not.

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Orlando Javier Torres-Meza, Marcelino Bazan-Tene, Javier Farias-Larios, Jose Gerardo Lopez-Aguirre, and Jaime Molina-Ochoa

Low organic matter in soil is a large problem in crop production around the world because it affects physical, chemical, microbiological, and morphological properties. On the other hand, regions with agro-industry generally generate waste that can cause some level of contamination. Therefore, it is necessary to find some use for this kind of waste. This study was done to evaluate the effect of lemon industrial waste on tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum Mill.), growth in a saline soil. The experiment was conducted under greenhouse conditions. Soil samples were taken from 0- to 20-cm depths at the El Chococo ranch, located at 18°47'N and 103°55'W. Four treatments were imposed: 0 (0), 600 (1), 1200 (2), and 1800 (3) m3/ha. Soil in treatments was incubated at ambient temperature for 40 days. Tomato seeds were germinated for 30 days and later transplanted to plastic bags containing treatments. After transplant, tomato plants were grown during 40 days, after which was measured: high plant, dry and fresh weight, aerial, and radicular biomass and foliar area. Treatments were distributed under randomized design, and Tukey's (0.05) separation means was performed. Organic matter, pH, and CE in soil before treatment application was 1.01%, 8.5, and 7.6 dS/m respectively (in 1:5 soil: water ratio). After application, OM increased until 3.7% in treatment 3. pH and CE decreased to 5.5 in treatment 2, and 1.57 dS/m in treatment 0. All data measured in plants had the highest values in treatment 1, and all plants died in treatment 0. We believe that is necessary to do this experiment in the field to obtain additional data.

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Alejandra Guadalupe Zamora-Solís, Marcelino Bazan-Tene, Javier Farias-Larios, Jose Gerardo López-Aguirre, and Jaime Molina-Ochoa

Distribution of salinity and sodicity through the world is around 80 thousand million km2. To this quantity, we must add 10 million ha of irrigated lands that are abandoned each year due to such adverse effects on irrigation as salinity and/or alkalinity. Easily available substrates, such as glucose, increase the microbial activity to imprpove soils; for example, pH decreases because of a high production of some metabolites, such as carboxylic acids and hydro phenolics group. We carried out a study to evaluate the effect of glucose application on tomato plant (Lycopersicum esculentum Mill.) growth in saline soil. The experiment was done under greenhouse conditions. Soil samples were taken from 0–20-cm depth at the “El Chococo” ranch (lat. 18°47'N; long. 103°55'W). Treatments imposed were: 2% (T1), 4% (T2), and 6% (T3) glucose and a control without glucose (T0). Soil with treatments was incubated at ambient temperature for 40 days. Tomato seeds were germinated for 30 days and later transplanted to plastic bags that contained treatments. After transplant, tomato plants were grown for 40 days and then evaluated for plant height, dry and fresh weight, aerial and radicular biomass, and foliar area. Treatments were distributed under randomized design, and Tukey's (0.05) separation means were done. When the glucose percentage was increased, the soil pH decreased 8.50, 8.0, 7.70, and 7.60 in T0, T1, T2, and T3, respectively, but electrical conductivity increased. The highest values of parameters evaluated in plants were measured in treatment T3, and all the plants died in treatment (0).

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Marcelino Bazán Tene, Javier Farías Larios, José Gerardo López Aguirre, Francisco Radillo Juárez, and Jorge Rogelio Flores Sánchez

Production of horticultural crops is important throughout the world, with high consumption mainly in Europe and the United States of America. Cucumber is consumed both fresh and processed. This vegetable generates important profits for producing countries such as Mexico, which, in 2003, produced 435,897 tons of fresh fruit with a value of 1.190 million Mexican pesos (around USD $109 million). The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of the floating cover on the yield of fresh cucumbers. Four treatments and five repetitions were imposed in a randomized distribution: covered 20 days (C20) post-emergence, covered until beginning of flowering (CF), covered until beginning of harvest (CIC), and without cover (SC). Data at the first and fourth harvest were analyzed. Results showed that, in the first harvest, treatment C20 days was highest in fruit yield (3.11 ton/ha); Treatment CIC had 2.47 ton/ha, and SC produced 1.66 ton/ha. Data obtained in the fourth harvest, treatment C20, had the highest yield, with 24.12 ton/ha, and treatment CF had a yield of 21.11 ton/ha, but there was not significant difference (Tukey's P < 0.05).

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Eva Judith Hueso, Jaime Molina-Ochoa, Jalil Fallad-Chávez, Roberto Roberto Lezama-Gutiérrez, Marilú López-Edwards, and Javier Farías-Larios

Scyphophorus acupunctatus is the main pest of Agave tequilana. Its adults are vectors of Erwinia carotovora, which causes plant destruction. The susceptibility of S. acupunctatus larvae to various strains of entomopathogenic nematodes has been demonstrated previously (Molina et al., 2004). In the current paper, the use of seven different concentrations: 0, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500, of infected juveniles per larva in petri dishes containing a filter paper against Steinernema carpocapsae strains All, Ca, and Fl, and also against native insolated N1, N2, N4, belonging to the genera Steinernema sp. The studies were conducted under laboratory conditions to determine the susceptibility of S. acupunctatus larvae to entomopathogenic nematodes. One hundred percent mortality of S. acupunctatus larvae was achieved by S. carpocapsae strains All, Ca, and Fl with exposure to 100 infected juveniles. In the case of native isolates, N2 registered 95% mortality, and for N4 and N1, mortality registered was 75%. An analysis of variance was conducted in order to determine whether strain or isolate had the highest virulence against S. acupunctatus larvae. Means for S. acupunctatus larvae by entomopathogenic nematodes presented significant differences (F = 57.01; df = 55, 223; P < 0.0001), resulting in two levels. At the first level, S. carpocapsae All, Fl, and Ca are statistically the same as isolate N4. At the second level, the isolates N4 and N1 are statistically the same. The results indicate the high susceptibility of S. acupunctatus larvae. The infectivity of native isolates as well as S. carpocapsae strains All, Fl, and Ca are associated with the symbiotic bacterium Xenorharbdus sp., suggesting they have potential for use against S. acupunctatus larvae.