Our Plant Health Coordinator has contributed to a study published this month (April, 2018) in a leading scientific journal.
Kyle Ross studied for his BSc in Horticulture at Worcester University in 2015 and contributed to a study aimed to improve biocontrol of black vine weevil.
The 24-year-old explained: “As part of my dissertation I worked under the guidance of the UK’s horticultural crop research organisation, NIAB EMR, and its microbiologists Ralph Noble and Andreja Dobrovin-Pennington and my course supervisor from Pershore College, Colin Perkins.
“Our combined work, with assistance from entomologist Jean Fitzgerald of NIAB EMR and other Worcester University/Pershore College students has this month been published in BioControl Journal, one of the leading scientific journals for biological control.
“The study aimed to improve biocontrol of black vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) with entomopathogenic fungi in growing media by incorporating spent mushroom compost. The fungi studied in the trial were Metarhizium brunneum (Met52) and Beauveria bassiana (Naturalis-L).
“The results showed that incorporating 10% spent mushroom compost with a peat-based growing medium provided fungal chitin for Met52 and Naturalis-L to establish and to prolong the persistence of the products. This resulted in increased efficacy of M. brunneum and B. bassiana against black vine weevil compared with using the biocontrol products without spent mushroom compost.
“Black vine weevil is an important pest of ornamental and fruit crops and causes millions of pounds in crop loss damages annually. Understanding more about how biocontrol fungi interact with the pest and the growing medium will result in increasingly more effective pest management plans.”
NIAB EMR is located in Kent and has a history dating back to 1913 when it was established by the fruit growing sector to address the many challenges faced by growers. Since its establishment, the team at East Malling have introduced wide-ranging advances to horticulture, which have shaped the way produce is grown and supplied to the consumer.
Today, its mission is to conduct high-quality strategic and applied research in horticultural and environmental sciences, and to deliver knowledge, products and services that benefit public and private customers.
Kyle Ross, Plant Health Coordinator at Wyevale Nurseries.