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Open access

Dong Sub Kim, Mark Hoffmann, Steven Kim, Bertha A. Scholler, and Steven A. Fennimore

Steam has long been used to disinfest greenhouse soils. However, there is increasing interest in expanding the use of steam for in-field soil disinfestation as an alternative to chemical fumigants. Previous studies demonstrated that allyl-isothiocyanate (AITC) reduced viability of weed seeds and plant pathogen propagules, but AITC has a low vapor pressure and is relatively immobile in soil. Heat has been used in the past to enhance the mobility of soil fumigants such as methyl bromide (i.e., “hot gassing”). The effect of steam heat on the mobility of AITC is unknown. The objective of this study was to investigate the potential synergistic effect of steam plus ATIC against weed seeds and a plant pathogen. AITC alone did not reduce the viability of the four weed species and the number of Verticillium dahliae microsclerotia. The steam + AITC treatment reduced the viability of V. dahliae at 12.5 and 18 cm distances by 82% and 88%, respectively, and knotweed and nettle seeds at 70 cm from injection point by 75% and 86%, respectively, from the center of microplots compared with steam alone. The results suggest that AITC and steam have a complementary effect on soilborne pests because steam increases the mobility of AITC.

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Clint Hoffmann, Brad Fritz, Dan Martin, Ryan Atwood, Tim Hurner, Mark Ledebuhr, Matt Tandy, John L. Jackson, and Gail Wisler

The asian citrus psyllid [Diaphorina citri (Sternorrhyncha: Psyllidae)] is a detrimental pest to citrus (Citrus spp.) crops when it serves as a vector of the pathogen that causes greening (huanglongbing). Transmission of this disease causes mottling, chlorosis, dieback, and reductions in fruit size and quality. Citrus producers have found that many pesticides, when applied properly, are very effective at suppressing or eliminating asian citrus psyllids in groves. Due to the threat of greening, several pesticides have been granted Special Local Needs registration for use in the state of Florida if the product is sprayed with a volume median diameter of 90 μm or greater. A number of studies involving numerous citrus sprayers and a.i. were conducted to determine the droplet sizes generated by different sprayers operating under user-established settings and the adjustments required to those settings for the sprayers to meet the 90-μm requirement. In the sprayer tests, it was found that reductions in engine speed or increases in flow rate were required to increase droplet sizes to meet the product label-required droplet size. As the equipment tested here represent the most typical application equipment used in Florida for asian citrus psyllid control, these results will provide applicators, growers, and extension agents with general guidelines to ensure that spray systems are operated in a manner that complies with label restrictions.

Open access

Mark Hoffmann, Husein A. Ajwa, Becky B. Westerdahl, Steven T. Koike, Mike Stanghellini, Cheryl Wilen, and Steven A. Fennimore

Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) is a glucosinolate produced in cruciferous plant species. AITC is known to act as a pesticide on microorganisms, insects, and weeds. Synthetic AITC is registered as a biopesticide for agricultural soil treatment use in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Although a potent pesticide, reports on the weed and pathogen control efficacy of synthetic AITC applied as soil disinfectant are highly variable. Due to the low vapor pressure of AITC, questions remain as to whether pest and weed control efficacy can be improved by combining it with other chemicals. The objective of this study was to assess the control efficacy of AITC stand-alone applications vs. applications, in which AITC was combined with the standard-fumigants chloropicrin, 1,3-dichloropicrin, and methyl isothiocyanate. Two shank-applied on-farm field trials were conducted in cut flower [delphinium (Delphinium elatum), ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus)] fields, and two drip tape applied field trials in strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) fields in California. Weed pressure, weed seed viability, nematode survival, and pathogen survival of Pythium ultimum, fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum), and verticillium wilt (Verticillium dahliae) were assessed. Cumulative yearly yield of marketable fruit was assessed in the strawberry field trials. The results of this study show that the use of AITC as a stand-alone treatment provided no consistent weed or pathogen control efficacy. However, our results also indicate that shank and drip applied multitactic fumigation approaches with AITC can efficiently control soil-borne diseases and weeds. These findings have potential implications, especially in those areas where certain fumigants are restricted due to regulations and/or availability.