Biological Control Effective in Controlling Diseases in Sweetpotatoes

sweet potatoes in a basket outside

A biological control has been found to be an effective alternative to fungicide treatment to control Rhizopus soft rot in stored sweetpotatoes.

Based on the results of a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Graduate Student Grant, the application of Bio-Save as a dip performed comparably to the fungicide dicloran, a common post-harvest product used to protect sweetpotatoes from disease. Bio-Save is a certified-organic, post-harvest biological disease preventative for potatoes. It’s main ingredient is the bacterium, Pseudomonas syringae.

Researchers emphasized, however, that efficacy can vary based on such factors as the cultivar grown, soil type, weather conditions and how long the sweetpotatoes are in storage.

Louisiana State University graduate student Waana Kaluwasha and major professor Christopher Clark studied the application of Bio-Save as a dip and a spray, as well as the method of re-curing on five commercial sweetpotato cultivars: Beauregard, Bayou Belle, Bellevue, Orleans and Covington.

The re-curing treatment both alone and in combination with Bio-Save was not effective for all cultivars in both years, thus cannot be recommended at this point and needs further investigation. With Bio-Save, however, having another alternative comparable to dicloran would result in reduced fungicide use, improved environmental stewardship, and better quality of produce to meet the needs of various markets.

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Milagro Berhane

Milagro Berhane

Senior Research Associate
Southern University

Isabelle Frank

SARE PDP Program Assistant
Louisiana State Univeristy
Carl Motsenbocker

Carl Motsenbocker

LSU AgCenter

Produce Safety Factsheets from LSU AgCenter

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