Management of Fusarium verticillioides Root Infection Court in Maize Using Organic Soil Amendments
Alakonya, Amos E.
Monda, E. O.
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Abstract: In this study the efficacy of various soil organic amendments were evaluated for their potential to manage Fusarium verticillioides root infections in maize. The soil organic amendments used were neem cake, sunflower cake, cotton cake, goat manure and farmyard manure. In a field experiment F. verticillioides was inoculated to seed holes with different soil organic amendments at planting. Soil and root samples were collected for mycological analysis at 10, 30 and 60 days after silking. Upon maturity maize was harvested at 4 and 8 weeks after physiological maturity where assorted data was collected. Rotten and symptomless maize samples were collected and subjected to mycological and mycotoxin analysis. Significantly high recovery rates of F. erticillioides from control soil and roots than in amended soil was evident. At 60 days after silking the percent recovery of F. verticillioides was reduced to even zero in some treatments indicating that organic soil amendments have a mechanism of suppressing the survival of F. verticilliodes in the soil and hence limit its root infection ability. Mycological analysis on symptomless kernels revealed high recovery of F. verticilliodes from in control plots than amended treatments indicating the ability of the amendment to manage root infections of F. verticilliodes. Mycotoxin analysis revealed widespread FB1 contamination across treatments and in both asymptomatic and rotten maize. Average FB1 in symptomless maize was 333.98 μg kg and 357.4 μg kg at 4th 1 1 and 8th weeks after physiological maturity respectively. All rotten maize samples had over 5000 μg kg 1 of FB .1Aflatoxins were only present in three samples at 4th week after physiological maturity. The results show that soil organic amendments could limit root infection by F. erticillioides however, it cannot if singly used as a management strategy against the pathogen guarantee 100% eradication of the pathogen and associated mycotoixins. This therefore calls for an integrated approach that could involve use of resistant hybrids, soil solarization, early land preparation, insect control, fungicide treated seed and good post harvest handling practices. Mycotoxin ignorant maize consumers in Africa especially need to be educated on the risks they face if they consume rotten maize given the very high levels of FB1 revealed in this study and elsewhere. Key words: Infection court Fumonisins Aflatoxins Organic soil amendments Ear rot fungi ELISA Zea mays Kenya