Efficacy of Microbial Biopesticides that may be used in Organic Farming

Organic Agriculture November 15, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

eOrganic authors:

Rosa Raudales, University of Florida

Chunxue Cao, The Ohio State University - OARDC

Gary Vallad, University of Florida -IFAS

Meg McGrath, Cornell University

Brian McSpadden Gardener, The Ohio State University - OARDC

This article summarizes publicly available data on efficacy of commercially-available, EPA-registered microbial biopesticides for plant disease control. At the time of writing, these materials were allowed for use on organic farms. However, products and their status for use on organic farms changes, so before using any of these products, be sure to 1) read the label to be sure that the product is labeled for the crop you intend to apply it to and the disease you intend to control, 2) read and understand the safety precautions and application restrictions, and 3) make sure that the brand name product is listed in your Organic System Plan, approved by your certifier, AND registered for use in your state. For more information on how to determine whether a disease management product can be used on your farm, see the eOrganic article Can I Use this Product For Disease Management On My Organic Farm?

Because product lines change periodically, some relevant products may not be listed. Additional data on efficacy may be obtained from the companies producing biopesticides and their University cooperators. For a more detailed introduction see the related eOrganic article Biopesticides for Plant Disease Management in Organic Farming.

The efficacy ratings presented here are based on the results of one-year field studies published between 2000 and 2009 in the Plant Disease Management Reports (http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/pub/trial/pdmr/). These ratings are based on a comparison between untreated controls and the application of each product independently. These studies were not, in general, conducted on organic farms or on organically-managed land.

Efficacy ratings are scaled as follows:

  • (+) – evidence for disease control and/or yield increase
  • (±) – evidence for disease control is mixed with some reports showing positive results and others not
  • (0) – no obvious response to treatment in one or more published reports
  • (n.d.) – no data available in the selected PDMR publications
Table 1. Microbial biopesticide products labeled for plant disease control.
Biocontrol Organism Trade Name Target Disease Crops Efficacy1,2
Bacteriophages of Xanthomonas spp. and Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato Agriphage™ Bacterial spot in pepper and tomatoes and bacterial speck in tomatoes Tomatoes and pepper Bell Pepper/bacterial spot: (+)
Pseudomonas syringae strain ESC 10 Bio-Save® 10LP3 Ice inducing bacteria and biological decay Apples, pears, lemons, oranges, or grapefruit after the fruit is harvested Sweetpotato/Rhizopus soft rot: (+)
Pantoea agglomerans strain E325 Bloomtime Biological™ 3 Fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) Apples and pears Apple/Fire blight: (±)
Bloomtime Biological™ FD3 Fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) Apples and pears Apple/Fire blight: (±)
Streptomyces lydicus WYEC 108
Actinovate® SP Soilborne pathogens: Pythium spp., Rhizoctonia spp., Phytophthora spp, Fusarium spp., Verticillium spp., Phymatotrichum omnivorum and other root decay fungi. Foliar pathogens: Podosphaera spp., Botrytis spp., Schlerotinia spp., Monilinia spp., Alternaria spp., Peronospora spp. and other foliar fungi Greenhouse, nursery and turf

Pumpkin/Powdery mildew: (+)

Pumpkin/Phytophthora leaf blight: (0)

Pepper/Phytophthora foliar blight: (+)

Bacillus pumilus QST 2808 Ballad® Plus Biofungicide Rust, powdery mildew, cercospora, and brown spot Soybeans, cereal crops, and potatoes

Soybean/Asian Soybean Rust: (±)

Soybean/Target Spot: (±)

Snap Bean/Ashy Stem Blight: (±)

Snap Bean/Rust: (+)

Coniothyrium minitans strain CON/M/91-08 Contans® WG Sclerotinia minor,Sclerotinia sclerotiorum Agricultural soils

Snap beans/White mold: (±)

Snap beans/Gray mold: (0)

Lettuce/White mold: (±)

Lettuce/Lettuce drop: (+)

Bacillus subtilis GB03 Kodiak® Concentrate Biological Fungicide Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, and others that attack the root systems of plants Cotton, peanuts, soybeans, wheat, barley, peas, and beans

Snap beans/Fusarium Root rot: (±)

Snap bean/Rhizoctonia root rot: (0)

Pea/ Fusarium,
Phoma/Pythium: (±)

Wheat/Fusarium crown rot: (0)

Cucumber/Damping off: (0)

Trichoderma harzianum Rifai strain KRL-AG2 Plant Shield® HC Biological Foliar and Root Fungicide Fusarium, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia Cucurbit vegetables, flowers, bedding plants, ornamentals, fruiting and leafy vegetables, Cole crops, hydroponic crops, pome fruits, shade house, outdoor nursery, stone fruit, and tree nuts

Dry beans/Fusarium Root Rot: (±)

Snap beans/Rhizoctonia Root Rot: (0)

Tomato/Grey mold: (0)

Potato/Silver Scurf: (+)

Potato/Black Scurf: (0)

Geranium/Black Leg Disease: (0)

Gladiolus/Fusarium root rot: (0)

African Daisy/Powdery mildew: (±)

RootShield® Granules Fusarium, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia Flowers, bedding plants, ornamentals, fruiting vegetables, herbs and spices, hydroponic crops, leafy vegetables, cole crops, pome fruits, stone fruits, and tree nuts

Myrtle/Leaf rot: (+)

Potato/Rhizoctonia canker and Black scurf: (0)

Gladiolus/Fusarium corm rot: (0)

Tomato/Bacterial speck: (±)

Bacillus subtilis strain QST 713 Serenade® Garden Disease Control Concentrate Bacterial spot, powdery mildew, rust, gray mold, leaf blight, scab, and more Fruits, vegetables, and flowers (n.d.)
Serenade® Garden Disease Control Ready to Use Bacterial spot, powdery mildew, rust, gray mold, leaf blight, scab, and more Vegetable, fruit, nuts, ornamentals plants, annual and perennial flowering plants, tropical foliage, trees, and shrubs (n.d.)
Serenade® MAX™ Fire Blight, Botrytis, Sour Rot, Rust, Sclerotinia, Powdery Mildew, Bacterial Spot and White Mold Vegetables, fruit, nut, and vine crops

Blueberry/Anthracnose fruit rot: (+)

Blueberry/Mummy berry: (±)

Cranberry/Fruit rot: (0)

Apple/Fireblight: (0)

Apple/Flyspeck: (0)

Apple/Sooty blotch: (0)

Apple Black pox: (0)

Apple/Brooks fruit spot: (0)

Serenade® Wettable Powder Biofungicide Fire Blight, Botrytis, Sour Rot, Rust, Sclerotinia, Powdery Mildew, Bacterial Spot, and White Mold Vegetables, fruit, nut, and vine crops

Apple/Fire blight: (0)

Red Raspberry: Fruit rot: (0)

Grape/Bunch rot and Powdery mildew: (+)

Turnip greens/bacterial leaf spot: (0)

Hydrangea/Powdery mildew: (+)

Pansy/Cercospora leaf spot: (+)

Pumpkin, Cantaloupe, Honeydew/Powdery mildew: (+)

Lettuce/Lettuce drop: (±)

Lettuce/Powdery mildew: (+)

Broccoli/Downey mildew: (+)

Serenade® ASO Fungi and bacteria that cause scab, powdery mildew, sour rot, downy mildew, and early leaf spot, early blight, late blight, bacterial spot, and walnut blight diseases Food crops including cherries, cucurbits, grapes, leafy vegetables, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and walnuts

Cranberry/Cotton ball: (±)

Spinach/Stemphylium leaf spot: (0)

Snap bean/Rhizoctonia root rot: (0)

Radish/Hypocotyl root rot and Clubroot: (±)

Trichoderma virens (formerly Gliocladium virens) SoilGard 12G3 Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Root rots Ornamental and food crop plants grown in greenhouses, nurseries, interiorscapes, and outdoors

Geranium/Root rot: (0)

Gladiolus/Fusarium Corm Rot: (0)

Poinsettia/Pythium root rot: (+)

Azalea/Phytophthora root rot: (0)

Potato/Black scurf: (+)

Potato/Rhizoctonia and Streptomyces: (0)

Snap Beans/gray mold: (±)

Snap Beans/white mold: (0)

Cucumber/Damping off: (0)

Bacillus pumilus QST 2808 Sonata® Fungal pests such as molds, mildews, blights, and rusts Many food and non-food crops, including trees susceptible to sudden oak death syndrome. For use outdoors, including nurseries, landscapes, and rights-of-way, and for use in greenhouses

Lima Beans/White mold: (0)

Lettuce/Powdery mildew: (+)

Lettuce/Lettuce drop: (±)

Broccoli/Downey mildew: (+)

Pumpkin/Powdery mildew: (0)

Radish/Downey mildew: (+)

Radish/Clubroot and Rhizoctonia hypocotyl root rot: (0)

Trichoderma harzianum Rifai strain KRL-AG2 T-22™ HC Fusarium, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia Agronomic field and row crops, alfalfa, hay and forage crops, bulb crops, cucurbits, fruiting vegetables, herbs, spices, leafy vegetables, cole crops, legumes, root crops, small grains and tuber crops Soybean/Rhizoctonia solani and drought: (0)
T-22™ Planter Box Fusarium, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia Agronomic field and row crops, alfalfa, hay and forage crops, bulb crops, cucurbits, fruiting vegetables, herbs, spices, leafy vegetables, cole crops, legumes, root crops, small grains and tuber crops

Pea/Root rot: (±)

Bean (Baby Lima)/Root rot: (0)

Pea/Root Rot: (0)

RootShield® WP Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Thielaviopsis and Cylindrocladium berries and small fruits; bulb crops; citrus fruits; additional leafy vegetables and cole crops; tree nuts; root crops and tuber crops)

Geranium/Blackleg; Pythium sp.(+)

Potato/Rhizoctonia canker (+)

Potato/black scurf (0)

Bacillus subtilis QST 708 Rhapsody® Fungal and bacterial diseases; Brown Patch, Anthracnose, and Dollar Spot Turf, ornamentals, trees, shrubs, flowers, bedding plants, tropical plants, seedlings, conifers, fruity and leafy vegetables, and bulbs

Creeping bent grass/Dollar spot, abiotic stress, Brown patch and Anthracnose: (0)

Annual bluegrass (60%) and Creeping Bentgrass (40%)/ Anthracnose: (+)

Tall Fescue/Pythium blight and Gray leaf spot: (0)

Geranium/Botrytis blight: (+)

Dogwood/Powdery mildew: (+)

Dogwood/Cercospora leaf spot and Spot Anthracnose: (0)

References and Citations

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.