[ASC-media] Stop the rot! New research is putting the lid on onion white rot

Youna Angevin-Castro youna at castro.com.au
Fri Sep 28 03:07:24 CEST 2007


Stop the rot!  New research is putting the lid on onion white rot

Australian onion growers are one step closer to managing the  
destructive effects of onion white rot, following trials  
investigating suitable post-plant applications for the prevention of  
the disease. The research, conducted by Tasmania-based research  
provider Peracto Pty Ltd, has the potential to improve the long-term  
sustainability of onion production and boost profits for growers  

Onion white rot, Sclerotium cepivorum, is the most widespread and  
destructive disease affecting onions and other Allium crops. This  
persistent, soil-borne fungus has been known to cause complete crop  
loss, and is found in most onion growing regions in Australia.
According to Dr Hoong Pung, Senior Researcher with Peracto, onion  
white rot is known to survive for more than 15 years in the soil,  
making it extremely difficult to control or eradicate.

“To date, growers may be able to manage the disease if a field is  
known to be infected prior to planting. Onion white rot can be  
controlled with reasonable success with fungicides incorporated at  
the sowing stage, if the fungus level is not too high,” said Hoong.
“However, if fungus levels are high, these fungicide applications  
only provide partial control. Growers who discover white rot later  
currently have no management options.”

  Recently Hoong’s research team conducted field trials in  
Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania to identify potential new post- 
plant fungicide treatments. Eleven fungicide products were evaluated.

  “We found that two products, Bayfidan EC (triadimenol) and Filan WG  
(boscalid), gave the most consistent disease control, and are  
potentially suitable fungicide alternatives. However, further  
research into application timing, methods and field conditions is  
required before conclusive recommendations can be made.”

The team is also investigating alternative treatments to be applied  
at the sowing stage. Growers in Tasmania have mainly relied on  
Folicur (tebuconazole) applied at sowing.
“This method gives good early disease control for up to 200 days, but  
poor control has been noted at less than 100 days. We are  
investigating this inconsistency,” said Hoong

For more information, visit the Peracto website www.peracto.com.au.


For media enquiries, contact:

Dr. Hoong Pung, Principal Research Scientist,

Peracto Pty Ltd,

16 Hillcrest Road, Devonport, Tasmania.  7310.  Australia

Ph: +61 3 6423 2044   Fax: +61 3 6423 4876   Mob: 0409 400 063

hpung at peracto.com.au

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