Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Development and field testing of a mycoherbicide for bracken control - BD0506

This study will aim to conduct field trials of a mycoherbicide for bracken control, which consists of fungal spores of the bracken pathogen Ascochyta pteridis suspended in a novel inert emulsion and amended with the contact herbicide ioxynil at very low concentrations. The study will build on existing work which demonstrates the effectiveness of the mycoherbicide at bracken control when spray-applied to foliage in laboratory conditions. The efficacy of the existing formulation will be confirmed on pot-grown bracken using a calibrated track sprayer fitted with air-assist nozzles, and the optimized application rate will be determined. The formulation will then be applied to bracken when the majority of the emerging shoots have reached the stage at which the first pair of lateral pinnae have fully expanded. Initially, these trials will be restricted to relatively resistant local bracken close to the University of Strathclyde. Treated plots will be monitored weekly for symptom expression and level of damage; microscopy and pathogen reisolation experiments will be performed on plant material to investigate the degree of fungal infection. Field trials will then be conducted in a variety of climatic and edaphic bracken-invaded habitats around the UK. Flora associated with bracken habitats will be examined in order to confirm whether other plant species are affected by the treatment. Effects of incorporation of additional herbicides on performance of the formulation will be examined and the pathogenicity of different A. pteridis isolates will be tested. Further refinements to the emulsion in order to improve ease of application and increase pathogen survivability will be investigated. Tests will also be conducted to confirm whether or not dried spores can be stored without losing virulence. Finally, methods for larger scale production, harvesting and processing of spores will be studied, in order to indicate suitability of the mycoherbicide for commercial development.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Development and field testing of a mycoherbicide for bracken control   (82k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1995

To: 1998

Cost: £91,545
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Strathclyde, Bioscience & Biotechnology
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship