Publications

Reducing damping-off problems in eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) : A participatory testing of nursery management in Bangladesh

Nahar, Naznin; Islam, Md Rashidul; Uddin, Mohammad Mahir; Jong, Peter de; Struik, Paul C.; Stomph, Tjeerd Jan

Summary

Eggplant seedling production in homestead nurseries of farmers in Jamalpur (Bangladesh) is greatly compromised by damping-off. Therefore, farmers often do not have enough seedlings to transplant. Effective treatments of soil and seed to reduce disease pressure in the nurseries are available but little is known on the relative contributions of soil-borne and seed-borne pathogens to damping-off and on how nursery management can integrate management options under farmers’ conditions. A 2-year nursery study was conducted in consecutive seasons, jointly with farmers and using farmers’ preserved seed and farmers’ nurseries subject to damping-off problems. Year 1 involved a single nursery, Year 2 nine nurseries. The following treatments were tested: Trichoderma harzianum as soil amendment combined with seed treatment using either hot water or Carbendazim and farmers’ conventional practice: curative spraying after appearance of damping-off. In Year 1, a control (no intervention) treatment was also included. Emergence of seedlings, incidence of damping-off, seedling performance variables and farmers’ appreciation of seedling vigour were recorded. Soil treatment with T. harzianum combined with seed treatment with hot water increased seedling emergence and produced 25–64 percentage points more healthy seedlings than farmers’ conventional practice. This combined treatment also improved seedling performance (height, root length, lateral root development), and reduced stem girdling, a symptom associated with disease infection of transplants. To determine the contributions of nursery soil and farmers’ seed to damping-off, blotter and in vitro studies in the laboratory and tray studies in a screen house were performed. Soil proved to be the major pathogen source and treating nursery soil with T. harzianum had the largest positive effect on seedling performance, both reducing damping-off and enhancing seedling growth.