Epidemiological dynamics and the efficiency of biological control of soil-borne disease during consecutive epidemics in a controlled environment

D. J. Bailey, A. Kleczkowski, C. A. Gilligan

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26 Citations (Scopus)


A combination of experimentation and modelling is used to examine the role of epidemiological dynamics on the production and infectivity of inoculum and the efficiency of biocontrol by Trichoderma viride during consecutive epidemics of damping-off disease caused by the pathogen Rhizoctonia solani in crops of radish. Changes in the net infectivity of inoculum at the beginning of first and second crops caused a switch in epidemiological dynamics. Epidemics of first crops were dominated by secondary infection leading to amplification of inoculum so that epidemics of second crops were overwhelmingly determined by primary infection. The biocontrol agent reduced primary infection and hence parasitic amplification of inoculum in both first and second crops but the efficiency of control dropped from 91.7% in first crops to 64.8% in second crops, with sudden outbreaks of disease in second crops which had previously been disease-free. We conclude that parasitic amplification can cause a rapid build-up of disease and inoculum over consecutive crops, leading to loss in the efficiency of biocontrol. This form of inoculum production is supplemented by saprotrophic infestation which can result in sudden outbreaks of disease in protected crops where control of disease had previously been fully successful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-575
Number of pages7
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number2
Early online date23 Dec 2003
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2004


  • biological control
  • consecutive epidemics
  • continuous cropping
  • disease dynamics
  • inoculum dynamics
  • rhizoctonia solani
  • saprotrophic

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