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Alternatives eyed for methyl bromide
Date:3/16/2011

McCollum and Joseph Albano, who are also with the Fort Pierce lab, evaluated fruit quality and soil and plant nutrients.

The researchers heated the soil via solarization and treated plots with different levels of the organic materials and different amounts of water. The molasses used was a waste product of the sugar cane processing industry. They planted peppers in the fall and eggplant in the spring, sampled the soil for nematodes, counted nematodes on crop roots, assessed weed populations and soil properties and measured crop yields.

The scientists found nematode populations were reduced when treated with molasses and poultry litter, that molasses and poultry litter controlled grass weeds just as well as methyl bromide, and that the solarized treatments heated the soil to levels that were at or just below levels that are lethal for many soil pathogens.

The researchers also are comparing two recently developed fumigants, dimethyl disulfide (DMDS) and methyl iodide, with methyl bromide at two sites, one where they raised delphiniums and the other with caladiums. Preliminary results show the alternatives are just as effective as methyl bromide at suppressing grass weeds and controlling nematodes, but their overall effectiveness depended on the type of cultivar produced.


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Contact: Dennis O'Brien
dennis.obrien@ars.usda.gov
301-504-1624
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics
Source:Eurekalert

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