Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type





Plant Pathology

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Vincelli


Kentucky reported a solid 13.1% growth in certified organic land from 1997 to 2002. The relative lack of research on disease management practices in Kentucky consistent with organic regulations is an issue that needs to be addressed to provide more reliable information to local farmers. Thus, the first objective of this research was to investigate the potential disease control obtained with natural, organically certifiable spray materials against Colletotrichum orbiculare in vitro and in vivo. The second objective was to test certifiable spray materials in combinations to identify synergistic interactions. The third objective was to evaluate Organic Material Review Institute (OMRI)-certified materials for managing Septoria leaf spot and early blight in tomato under field conditions. The fourth objective was to evaluate chitosan-based products against C. orbiculare in vitro and in vivo.

Essential oils, Trilogy®, and Actinovate®, failed to suppress C. orbiculare in vitro as well as cucurbit anthracnose. Bicarbonate salts, Regalia®SC, Sonata®, copper based-products, lime sulfur and water-soluble chitosan showed high antifungal activity in vitro. Bicarbonate salts, Sonata®, Serenade Max®, Soil Gard 12G®, copper based-products and lime sulfur reduced anthracnose disease severity in vivo.

In the synergism experiments only a limited number of mixtures showed synergistic interactions, but even in those cases, the effect was not consistent between experiments. The main response obtained was antagonism.

In field experiments the most effective fungicides for managing Septoria leaf spot and early blight of tomato were copper-based fungicides. None of the biological-based products (Sonata® and Serenade Max®)), plant-based extracts (Trilogy® and Regalia® SC), chitosan, ammonium bicarbonate nor horticultural lime sulfur provided a significant reduction in disease severity.

For the fourth objective, water-soluble chitosan with a molecular weight between 3 to 10 kDa (80 and 85% deacetylated) showed the highest antifungal activity among all chitosan-based products evaluated in vitro. Also, combining the in vitro and in vivo results suggest that the antifungal activity of chitosan-based products is molecular weight- and concentration-dependent. These results provide a significant advance in the evaluation of the efficacy of OMRI-certified materials and natural materials to help organic farmers in Kentucky and the USA to manage diseases.



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