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Disease management in ornamental & vegetable crops using low-cost protection systems incorporating photoselective claddings - HH3218TFV

The fundamental objective of the project is to exploit photoselective claddings for low-cost protection systems for the control of diseases of ornamental and vegetable crops. Low cost protection systems are used increasingly for traditional “field” crops, and as cost-effective replacements for glasshouses in the propagation of many crops. However, standard cladding plastics fail to exploit the potential for modifying light quality as a means of disease control. Many major pathogens, including downy mildews and B. cinerea, are strongly influenced by light, and different plastics offer approaches to their control. However, the application of this approach under UK is poorly understood. This project will assess the effects of commercially available photoselective plastics on a range of downy mildews of vegetable (brassica transplants, lettuce) and ornamentals (Viola, Lisianthus), and on B. cinerea. These will be used as model systems on which to develop more generic information applicable to a wider range of crop diseases. This will be achieved through an integrated programme of research across a range of scales, from the basic photobiology of crop/pathogen responses to light spectrum, to crop level changes in disease under different photoselective films. The project is directly relevant to the stated objected of CTC105 as disease control using photoselective plastics offers an alternative to chemical fungicides, and may have broader benefits in reducing other pesticides and growth regulators, making an overall contribution to the development of more sustainable horticultural systems in the UK. Although the project is focussed on the priorities identified within CTC105, the results should directly applicable to disease control across a broad range of sectors within UK horticulture.
1. To quantify the effectiveness of low-cost protection systems using a range of wavelength selective plastics for the control of downy mildews in vegetables and ornamentals.
2. To define the broader effects of spectral filters on the incidence and severity of other diseases, primarily B. cinerea. Natural pest invasion will be observed alongside various aspects of crop quality to enable an overall cost-benefit appraisal of spectral filters in the propagation of vegetable and ornamental crops.
3. To define the effects of photoselective filters on the microclimate within protected structures, with particular reference to the light environment.
4. To characterise the photobiological mechanisms, in both pathogen and host, that underlie the effects of altered light spectrum on selected downy mildews, B. cinerea and disease biocontrol agents and so ii) to make predictions of the effects of wavelength selective filters under a range of field conditions (different seasons, cloud etc.).
5. To study the impact of spectral filters on the establishment and survival of phylloplane micro-organisms and to investigate their effect on the application and successful use of selected bio-control agents in vegetable and ornamental crops.

Project Documents
• Final Report : Disease management in ornamental & vegetable crops using low-cost protection systems incorporating photoselective claddings   (1109k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2002

To: 2005

Cost: £367,563
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Lancaster
Disease Control              
Organic Farming              
Pesticide use              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study