Compost Tea Reduces the Susceptibility of Pinus radiata to Fusarium circinatum in Nursery Production
Pine trees used for reforestation are grown from seed or tissue culture, taking some 9 months to mature to be transplant-ready. During this period, cultural conditions can increase susceptibility to fungal pathogens. A group of Spanish researchers wanted to see if compost tea provided any protection against these pathogens, specifically the species of Fusarium that causes Pitch Canker. .
The scientists looked at several aspects of compost tea and it's affect on the growth and physiology of pine seedlings.
The first experiment involved making perti dishes that had compost tea added to them after they cooled so the microbes in the tea were not sterilized by the heat. The scientists then placed a small colony of Fusarium in the center of the dish and watched to see if the colony grew. Not surprisingly (if you have been reading previous blog posts) the dishes treated with compost tea showed a great inhibitory effect. As compared to a control plate (where there was 0% inhibition), tea reduced growth up to 45%. Meaning, that the Fusarium colony grew at about half the rate of the un-treated plate. It was also observed that there was 79% less germination of the fungal spores, thereby reducing the potential for growth even further. This promising data pushed the scientists to research further.
Next they wanted to see how tea acted in a real-life situation (petri dish experiments are referred to as in virto whereas "real-life" is in vivo). Pine seedlings were watered with compost tea monthly, and also inoculated with Fusarium spores. The researchers monitored disease severity over a nine month period. And, not surprisingly, again, the plants treated with tea had significantly less internal and external disease symptoms. Furthermore, the tea-treated plants had higher amounts of internal defense compounds, indicating that compost tea helps to bolster a plant's immune system.
This study actually had a lot more information than described here, all of it pointed to tea being extremely beneficial as a fungal pathogen preventor. Thanks to the Spanish scientists with arboreal interests for furthering our understanding of compost tea and it's many benefits. Muchas gracias amigos intelligentes!!!!