Assessment of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tagetis as a biocontrol agent for Canada thistle

John W. Gronwald, Kathryn L. Plaisance, Donald A. Ide, Donald L. Wyse

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37 Scopus citations


Growth chamber and field experiments were conducted to assess the potential of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tagetis (Pst) as a biocontrol agent for Canada thistle. Silwet L-77, an organosilicone surfactant, was required to facilitate Pst penetration into Canada thistle leaves. Growth chamber experiments indicated that maximum Pst populations inside leaves were obtained with a Silwet L-77 concentration of 0.3% (v/v) or greater. High Pst populations (109 colony-forming units [cfu] per gram fresh weight) were found in leaves 48 h after treatment with 108 or 109 cfu ml-1 Pst plus Silwet L-77 (0.3%, v/v). In growth chamber experiments, foliar application of Pst (109 cfu ml-1) plus Silwet L-77 (0.3%, v/v) on 4- to 5-wk-old Canada thistle reduced shoot dry weight by 52% (measured 14 d after treatment) and chlorophyll content of emerging leaves by 92% (measured 10 d after treatment). In field trials conducted in 1999 and 2000, Pst (10 9 cfu ml-1) plus Silwet L-77 (0.3%, v/v) were applied at 700 L ha-1, and the method of application (paint gun, backpack sprayer, boom) and the number of applications (one or two separated by 14 d) were examined. Averaged over 2 yr, two applications with a backpack sprayer resulted in 67% disease incidence (apical chlorosis) of treated plants measured 4 wk after the initial treatment (WAIT). At the time of flower bud formation (8 WAIT), there was little or no disease incidence, 31% reduction in plant height, 81% reduction in number of flower buds, and 20% reduction in shoot survival during 1999 but no effect on survival in 2000.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-404
Number of pages8
JournalWeed Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Bacterial population dynamics
  • Bioherbicide
  • Biological control
  • Organosilicone surfactant
  • Tagetitoxin


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