- Additional Plants: herbs
- Miscellaneous: mushrooms
- Crop Production: biological inoculants
- Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research, youth education
- Pest Management: allelopathy, biological control
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
- Soil Management: organic matter
- Sustainable Communities: social networks
Plant-parasitic nematodes can cause significant yield loss to a variety of crops. Current management practices include the use of nematicides, most of which are detrimental to the environment. The constant use of these chemicals is costly to farmers and can lead to a build up of pesticide resistance. Edible mushrooms such as the oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus, have been known to create a toxin to incapacitate nematodes. The fungi paralyze the nematodes and then utilize the nutrients. Nematodes are a supplementary source of nitrogen for fungi that naturally grow on woody nitrogen poor substrates. We believe that oyster mushroom substrate can be utilized in the management of nematodes in the soil. The goal of this project is to develop an approach of nematode management using oyster mushroom compost waste that will be easily accessible to farmers. An added benefit of this project is the production of edible mushrooms. If the farmers choose to cultivate edible mushrooms as well as produce their own nematode management tools, then added profits will be gained. The practicality of adding this amendment to field soils will be tested. Amending the soil with the substrate directly might be cumbersome for field operations. Thus, mushroom compost water extract (MCWE) is a much more viable option.
Project objectives from proposal:
Specific objectives of this proposed project are to: 1. Determine the amendment rate of Pleurotus ostreatus compost against root-knot nematodes on basil; 2. Establish a mushroom compost water extract concentration for nematode suppression; and 3. Demonstrate a mushroom compost-based technology for pre- and post-plant nematode management in commercial fields. The outcome of this proposed project will allow farmers and home gardeners to produce their own nematode biological control agents and increase awareness of alternative nematode management strategies. A series of workshops and field day events will be hosted to disseminate information generated from this study. Social media such as YouTube videos will also be produced for wider audience.