Fungal isolate and crop cultivar influence the beneficial effects of root inoculation with entomopathogenic fungi in strawberry
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonPest Management Science. 2019, . 10.1002/ps.5662
BACKGROUND Root inoculations of crop plants with beneficial fungi constitute a promising strategy for growth promotion and control of above‐ground pests and diseases. Here, strawberry roots (cultivar ‘Albion’ and ‘Pircinque’) were inoculated with 25 different Brazilian entomopathogenic fungal isolates of three genera and the effects on Tetranychus urticae oviposition and plant growth were evaluated in greenhouse experiments. RESULTS Reductions in the number of T. urticae eggs compared to control treatments were observed on both cultivars inoculated with almost all isolates. For the cultivar ‘Albion’, Metarhizium anisopliae (ESALQ 1604, ESALQ 1669), M. robertsii (ESALQ 1622, ESALQ 1635), Metarhizium sp. Indet. (ESALQ 1684) and Beauveria bassiana (ESALQ 3323) increased dry weight of roots and leaves, and fruit yield, while M. robertsii (ESALQ 1634), Metarhizium sp. Indet. (ESALQ 1637) and (ESALQ 1636) enhanced fruit yield and dry weight of leaves, respectively. For the cultivar ‘Pircinque’, M. anisopliae (ESALQ 1669) was the only isolate observed to increase dry weight of roots. CONCLUSION The results suggest that inoculation of strawberry roots with entomopathogenic fungi may be an innovative strategy for pest management above ground. Furthermore, these inoculations may also stimulate plant growth and strawberry production, but the effects depend on fungal strains and crop cultivar.