Compost teas are fermented watery extracts of composted materials that are used for their ability to decrease plant disease. Non-aerated compost teas (NCT) prepared from five types of compost were tested for their ability to inhibit the growth of Alternaria solani, Botrytis cinerea, and Phytophthora infestans in vitro. Weekly applications of NCT were also used in greenhouse trials to assess their suppressive effect on powdery mildew (Oidium neolycopersici) and gray mold (B. cinerea) on tomato plants. All NCT significantly inhibited the mycelial growth of A. solani (37-66%), B. cinerea (57-75%), and P. infestans (100%), whereas sterilized teas did not inhibit growth of the tested pathogens. Although NCT failed to efficiently control powdery mildew, they were able to control tomato gray mold for up to 9 weeks in greenhouse experiments. Among the tested compost teas, NCT prepared from sheep manure compost consistently provided the highest inhibition of mycelial growth and the highest disease suppression, in particular of gray mold (>95% disease reduction). The overall relative efficacy of the various NCT did not correlate well with microbial communities or physico-chemical composition of the prepared NCT. Results also suggest that the presence of the microorganisms in the NCT is a prerequisite for inhibition.

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Biological Control
Department of Chemistry

Koné, S.B. (Souleymane B.), Dionne, A. (Antoine), Tweddell, R.J. (Russell J.), Antoun, H. (Hani), & Avis, T. (2010). Suppressive effect of non-aerated compost teas on foliar fungal pathogens of tomato. Biological Control, 52(2), 167–173. doi:10.1016/j.biocontrol.2009.10.018