Biopesticide Controls of Plant Diseases: Resources and Products for Organic Farmers in Ohio

SAG-18
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Date: 
06/25/2010
Chunxue Cao, Sunjeong Park, and Brian B. McSpadden Gardener, Department of Plant Pathology

Different agricultural practices, such as the use of crop rotation, cover crops, disease resistant varieties, and good seed bed preparation have been applied to control pests and diseases. However, such practices are not always sufficient protection from crop losses. Because of this, many certified organic growers turn to biopesticides to insure and/or enhance their abilities to grow and market high-quality produce. Approved organic products for plant disease control include many EPA-registered biopesticides. Such products have been developed to control numerous plant diseases and to provide useful tools for growers to decrease the incidence and/or severity of plant diseases.

Biopesticides that can be used by organic growers can be classified as either microbial or biochemical, based on the active ingredient. Microbial pesticides include live organisms (e.g., beneficial bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and viruses) and/or their fermentation products as the active ingredient. Biochemical pesticides include plant extracts, pheromones, plant hormones, natural plant-derived regulators, clay, potassium bicarbonate, and enzymes as the active ingredient. In this fact sheet, only commercially available microbial and biochemical biopesticides are discussed.

Biopesticides are used primarily as preventative measures, so they may not perform as quickly as some synthetic chemical pesticides. However, biopesticides are generally less toxic to the user and are non-target organisms, making them desirable and sustainable tools for disease management. While their use is not overly complicated, the application of some biopesticides may require a high level of understanding and knowledge of the diseases and pathogens that they are designed to control. As with any disease management program, proper timing and application are essential to ensuring efficacy.

To help organic farmers choose an appropriate biopesticide for different plant diseases, we have provided a synthesis of numerous independent field tests for commercially available microbial biopesticides (Table 1) and biochemical biopesticides (Table 2). Both lists include only products certified for use in organic agriculture by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). The lists contain the trade name, target disease, crop, and efficacy evaluation results of each product as published in the Plant Disease Management Reports and Biological Control Tests Database between 2000 and 2009. An efficacy rating based on these reports was established based on the comparison between untreated and biopesticide-treated plants in one or more reports. The ratings are categorized as follows: “+”indicates that control of disease or increase in yields was observed, “±” indicates that in some cases there was some positive responses while in other cases there was no response, “o” indicates that neither positive nor negative effect was observed by the use of the product, and “*” indicates that no data are available.

Table 1. Microbial Biopesticides for the Control of Plant Pathogens
Disclaimer: The Ohio State University does not guarantee the efficacy or quality of any of these products. By law, it is the pesticide applicator’s responsibility to read and follow all current label directions for the specific pesticide being used.
Biocontrol Organism Trade Name Target Disease Target Crops Efficacy¹,²
Bacteriophages of Xanthomonas spp. and Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato AgriPhage™ Bacterial spot in pepper and tomatoes and bacterial speck in tomatoes Tomatoes and pepper Bell pepper/bacterial spot: +
Pseudomonas syringae strain ESC 10 Bio-Save® 10LP3 Post-harvest frost damage and biological decay Apples, pears, lemons, oranges, or grapefruit after the fruit is harvested Sweet potato/Rhizopus soft rot: +
Pantoea agglomerans strain E325 Bloomtime Biological™3 Fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) Apples and pears Apple/fire blight: ±
Bloomtime Biological™ FD3 Fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) Apples and pears Apple/fire blight: ±
Streptomyces lydicus WYEC 108 Actinovate® SP Soilborne pathogens: Pythium spp., Rhizoctonia spp., Phytophthora spp., Fusarium spp., Verticillium spp., Phymatotrichum omnivorum, and other root decay fungi
Foliar pathogens: Podosphaera spp., Botrytis spp., Schlerotinia spp., Monilinia spp., Alternaria spp., Peronospora spp., and other foliar fungi
Greenhouse, nursery, and turf Pumpkin/powdery mildew: +
Pumpkin/Phytophthora leaf blight: o
Pepper/Phytophthora foliar blight: +
Bacillus pumilus
QST 2808
Ballad® Plus Biofungicide Rust, powdery mildew, cercospora, and brown spot Soybeans, cereal crops, and potatoes Soybean/Asian soybean rust: ±
Soybean/target spot: ±
Snap bean/ashy stem blight: ±
Snap bean/rust: +
Coniothyrium minitans strain CON/M/91-08 Contans® WG Sclerotinia minor, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum Agricultural soils Snap beans/white mold: ±
Snap beans/gray mold: o
Lettuce/white mold: ±
Lettuce/lettuce drop: +
Bacillus subtilis GB03 Kodiak® Concentrate Biological Fungicide Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, and others that attack the root systems of plants Cotton, peanuts, soybeans, wheat, barley, peas, and beans Snap beans/Fusarium root rot: ±
Snap bean/Rhizoctonia root rot: o
Pea/Fusarium, Phoma and Pythium: ±
Wheat/Fusarium crown rot: o
Cucumber/damping-off: o
Trichoderma harzianum Rifai strain KRL-AG2 PlantShield® HC Biological Foliar and Root Fungicide Fusarium, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia Cucurbit vegetables, flowers, bedding plants, ornamentals, fruiting and leafy vegetables, cole crops, hydroponic crops, pome fruits, shade house, outdoor nursery, stone fruit, and tree nuts Dry beans/Fusarium root rot: ±
Snap beans/Rhizoctonia root rot: o
Tomato/grey mold: o
Potato/silver scurf: + Gladiolus/Fusarium root rot: o
African daisy/powdery mildew: ±
Geranium/black leg disease: o
RootShield® Granules Fusarium, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia Flowers, bedding plants, ornamentals, fruiting vegetables, herbs and spices, hydroponic crops, leafy vegetables, cole crops, pome fruits, stone fruits, and tree nuts Myrtle/leaf milkwort: +
Potato/Rhizoctonia canker and black scurf: o
Gladiolus/Fusarium corn rot: o
Tomato/bacterial speck: ±
Bacillus subtilis
QST 708
Rhapsody® Fungal and bacterial diseases, brown patch, anthracnose, and dollar spot Turf, ornamentals, trees, shrubs, flowers, bedding plants, tropical plants, seedlings, conifers, fruity and leafy vegetables, and bulbs Creeping bent grass/dollar spot, abiotic stress, brown patch and anthracnose: o
Annual bluegrass (60%) and creeping bentgrass (40%)/ anthracnose: +
Tall fescue/Pythium blight and gray leaf spot: o
Geranium/Botrytis blight: +
Dogwood/powdery mildew: +
Dogwood/Cercospora leaf spot and spot anthracnose: o
Bacillus subtilis strain QST 713 Serenade® Garden Disease Control Concentrate Bacterial spot, powdery mildew, rust, gray mold, leaf blight, scab, and more Fruits, vegetables, and flowers *
Serenade® Garden Disease Control Ready to Use Bacterial spot, powdery mildew, rust, gray mold, leaf blight, scab, and more Vegetable, fruit, nuts, ornamentals plants, annual and perennial flowering plants, tropical foliage, trees, and shrubs *
Serenade® MAX™ Fire blight, Botrytis, Sour rot, rust, Sclerotinia, powdery mildew, bacterial spot Vegetables, fruit, nut, and vine crops Blueberry/anthracnose fruit rot: +
Blueberry/mummy berry: ±
Cranberry/fruit rot: o
Apple/fire blight: o
Apple/flyspeck: o
Apple/sooty blotch: o
Apple/black pox: o
Apple/brooks fruit spot: o
Serenade® Wettable Powder Biofungicide Fire blight, Botrytis, sour rot, rust, Sclerotinia, powdery mildew, bacterial spot Vegetables, fruit, nut, and vine crops Apple/fire blight: o
Red raspberry/fruit rot: o
Grape/bunch rot and powdery mildew: +
Turnip greens/bacterial leaf spot: o
Hydrangea/powdery mildew: +
Pansy/Cercospora leaf spot: +
Pumpkin, cantaloupe, and honeydew/powdery mildew: +
Lettuce/lettuce drop: ±
Lettuce/powdery mildew: +
Broccoli/downy mildew: +
Serenade® ASO Fungi and bacteria that cause scab, powdery mildew, sour rot, downy mildew, and early leaf spot, early blight, late blight, bacterial spot, and walnut blight diseases Food crops including cherries, cucurbits, grapes, leafy vegetables, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and walnuts Cranberry/cotton ball: ±
Spinach/Stemphylium leaf spot: o
Snap bean/Rhizoctonia root rot: o
Radish/hypocotyl root rot and clubroot: ±
Trichoderma virens (formerly Gliocladium virens) SoilGard 12G3 Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and root rots Ornamental and food crop plants grown in greenhouses, nurseries, interiorscapes, and outdoors Geranium/root rot: o
Gladiolus/Fusarium corn rot: o
Poinsettia/Pythium root rot: +
Azalea/Phytophthora root rot: o
Potato/black scurf: +
Potato/Rhizoctonia and Streptomyces: o
Snap beans/gray mold: ±
Snap beans/white mold: o
Cucumber/damping-off: o
Bacillus pumilus
QST 2808
Sonata® Fungal pests such as molds, mildews, blights, and rusts Many food and non-food crops, including trees susceptible to sudden oak death syndrome. For use outdoors, including nurseries, landscapes, and rights-of-way, and for use in greenhouses Lima beans/white mold: o
Lettuce/powdery mildew: +
Lettuce/lettuce drop: ±
Broccoli/downy mildew: +
Pumpkin/powdery mildew: o
Radish/downy mildew: +
Radish/clubroot and Rhizoctonia hypocotyl root rot: o
Trichoderma harzianum Rifai strain KRL-AG2 T-22™ HC Fusarium, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia Agronomic field and row crops, alfalfa, hay and forage crops, bulb crops, cucurbits, fruiting vegetables, herbs, spices, leafy vegetables, cole crops, legumes, root crops, small grains, and tuber crops Soybean/Rhizoctonia solani and drought: o
T-22™ Planter Box Fusarium, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia Agronomic field and row crops, alfalfa, hay and forage crops, bulb crops, cucurbits, fruiting vegetables, herbs, spices, leafy vegetables, cole crops, legumes, root crops, small grains, and tuber crops Pea/root rot: ±
Bean (baby lima)/root rot: o
Pea/root rot: o
Bacillus pumilus GB34 Yield Shield® Concentrate Biological Fungicide Rhizoctonia and Fusarium Legumes Soybean/root rot: o
Soybean/Rhizoctonia damping-off: o
Snap beans/root rot: o
1. The efficacy ratings are based on the results of studies published between 2000 and 2009 in the Plant Disease Management Reports (plantmanagementnetwork.org). These ratings are built on a comparison between untreated controls and the application of each product independently.
2. + Evidence for disease control and/or yield increase, ± mixed results, o no obvious response to treatment, and * no data available in the selected PDM reports.
3. These products are not currently registered for use in the state of Ohio.
  Table 2. Biochemical Biopesticides for the Control of Plant Pathogens
Disclaimer: The Ohio State University does not guarantee the efficacy or quality of any of these products. By law, it is the pesticide applicator’s responsibility to read and follow all current label directions for the specific pesticide being used.
Trade Name Ingredient Manufacturer Target Crop Target Disease Efficacy1,2
Garlic Barrier® garlic oil Garlic Research Labs, Inc. Cucurbit crops, forage crops, fruiting vegetables, herbs, kiwi, leafy vegetables, legume vegetables, nut trees, ornamentals, peanuts, pome fruit trees, root and tuber vegetables, small fruits and berries, stone fruit trees, sugarcane, sunflowers, tropical fruits, turfgrass Brown spot, insect infestation Tomato/early blight: o
Green Light® Neem Concentrate Neem oil Green Light Company Vegetables, fruits, nuts, and spices Powdery mildew, rust, anthracnose, leaf spot, and other diseases Crapemyrtle/Cercospora leaf spot: o
Dogwood/powdery mildew: +
Dogwood/spot anthracnose: o
Dogwood/ Cercospora leaf spot: ±
Trilogy® Neem oil Certis USA Citrus, tree fruits, cucurbits, bulb, cole and leafy vegetables, legume and fruiting vegetables, root and tuber vegetables, small fruits and berries, herbs and spices, cereal and grains, nuts, corn, alfalfa, cotton Alternaria, anthracnose, leaf blight, Botrytis, greasy spot, leaf spot, post bloom fruit drop, powdery mildew, molds, scabs, rusts, shot hole Tomato/early blight: o
Bean, snap/white mold; gray mold: ±
Grape/powdery mildew: o
Pumpkin/Powdery mildew: ±
Almond/brown rot: + Almond/scab: o
Sweet cherry/powdery mildew: ±
Triact® 70EC Neem oil Certis USA Citrus, tree fruits, cucurbits, bulb, cole and leafy vegetables, legume and fruiting vegetables, root and tuber vegetables, small fruits and berries, herbs and spices, cereal and grains, nuts, corn, alfalfa, cotton Alternaria, anthracnose, leaf blight, Botrytis, greasy spot, leaf spot, post bloom fruit drop, powdery mildew, molds, scabs, rusts, shot hole Poinsettia/powdery mildew: +
Actino Iron® Iron Natural Industries, Inc. Food and fiber crops, ornamentals, landscape plants, tree seedlings for transplanting to the forest Soil-borne plant root rot and damping-off disease Snapdragon/root rot: +
ECO E-RASE® Jojoba oil IJO Products, LLC Garden and commercial vegetables and crops Powdery mildew and whitefly Pumpkin/powdery mildew: ±
SeaCide® Fish oil Omega Protein, Inc. Field crops, orchards, vineyards, and greenhouse Black spot, powdery mildew, and greasy spot Tomato/late blight, bacterial spot: o
Tomato/bacterial spot; early blight: +
Summer squash/powdery mildew: ±
Heads Up® Plant Protectant Extract of Chenopodium quinoa saponins Heads Up Plant Protectants Soybeans, potato, tomato, peas, beans, and wheat Soil-borne plant root rot and damping-off disease Peas/root rot: +
Tomato/early blight: +
Promax™ Thyme oil Bio Huma Netus, Inc. Crops, ornamental plants, and turf Fungal disease Pumpkin/Phytophthora blight: ±
Squash/ Phytophthora blight: ±
Proud 3™ Thyme oil Bio Huma Netus, Inc. Crops, ornamental plants, and turf Fungal disease Turnip greens/Bacterial leaf spot: o
Pumpkin/Phytophthora blight: ±
Squash/ Phytophthora blight: ±
Organic JMS Stylet-Oil® Paraffinic oil JMS Flower Farms, Inc. Grape, tree fruit, grass seed, and vegetable crops Powdery mildew and Botrytis bunch rot Pumpkin/powdery mildew: +
Tomato/powdery mildew: o
Bacterial speck Septoria leaf spot: o
Strawberry/leaf spot: o Phomopsis/leaf blight: o
Black currant/white pine blister rust: +
PureSpray™ Green Petroleum oil Petro-Canada Apples and pears, almonds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pistachio, plums, prunes, avocados, citrus, grapes, olives, tropical fruit, ornamental fruits, and vegetable crops Powdery mildew Grape/powdery mildew: o
Saf-T-Side® Petroleum oil Brandt Consolidated Apples and pears, almonds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pistachio, plums, prunes, avocados, citrus, grapes, olives, tropical fruits, ornamental fruits, and vegetable crops Powdery mildew, black spot, and rust Cucumber/downy mildew: o
Apple/powdery mildew: +
Almond/brown rot: +
Almond/scab: +
1. The efficacy ratings are based on the results of studies published between 2000 and 2009 in the Plant Disease Management Reports (plantmanagementnetwork.org). These ratings are built on a comparison between untreated controls and the application of each product independently.
2. + Evidence for disease control and/or yield increase, ± mixed results, o no obvious response to treatment, and * no data available in the selected PDM reports.
3. These products are not currently registered for use in the state of Ohio.

Additional Resources

  • American Phytopathology Society (APSnet). APS is a global community of researchers that provides valuable information about plant health (apsnet.org).
  • IR-4 Project. This federally-funded effort supports biopesticide development and registration efforts. The IR-4 Project has developed a database for biopesticide labels and products in the United States (ir4.rutgers.edu/biopesticides.html).
  • Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). ODA is the state agency that provides regulatory protection to producers, agribusinesses, and the consuming public in Ohio (ohioagriculture.gov).
  • Organic Food and Farming Education and Research Program (OFFER). OFFER is a group of researchers from The Ohio State University that offers research and education for organic production, processing, and marketing (oardc.osu.edu/offer).
  • Organic Review Materials Institute (OMRI). OMRI is an institution that evaluates and certifies products for use in certified organic productions, handling, and processing (omri.org).
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)/National Organic Program and Economic Research Service. The USDA works to set organic farming production standards (www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOP) and to collect information about organic agriculture (ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Organic).
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency/Biopesticides. This subdivision of the EPA is responsible for regulating and registering biopesticides in the United States (epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides).

Acknowledgement

Funding to support the development of these materials was provided by the USDA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative Grant, 2009-51300-05512.

 

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