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Side-effect testing of novel powdery mildew fungicides against biological control agents.

This study tested the effects of a range of inorganic salts and an extract of giant knotweed on two biological control agents which are used to control aphids and thrips on protected herb crops.

Year of Publication2011

There is increasing interest in using alternative fungicides, such as inorganic salts and plant extracts, including those from giant knotweed (Reynoutria sachalinensis), to control powdery mildew on protected herbs. However, it is important that these alternative fungicides are compatible with biological pest control, which is used in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programmes by growers of protected herb crops. This study tested mortality effects of a range of inorganic salts and an extract of giant knotweed on two biological control agents, Aphidius colemani and Neoseiulus cucumeris, which are used to control aphids and thrips on protected herb crops. The bioassays completed used worst case (Tier 1) scenarios where the biological control agent was either dipped or exposed to leaves sprayed with the fungicide. Based on the IOBC classification of plant protection products for their side-effects on beneficial arthropods the inorganic salts and extract from giant knotweed were ‘non-toxic’ against N. cucumeris and A. colemani adults. Although the side-effects of these potential alternative controls for powdery mildew should be tested against the full range of biological control agents used in IPM programmes on protected herbs, these results indicate that they should be IPM compatible.

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Supporting the development of the national rural economy.

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