Detergent keeps pathogen from destroying roses

September 17, 2010 By Albert Sikkema

A major pathogen in roses, the mold Botrytis cinerea, can be easily kept at bay with a dash of chlorine. Dutch researchers discovered this by chance.

Botrytis causes big problems in cultivation. Every rose is infected by botrytis which have to be killed before transportation by ship or aeroplane to the consumer. Since the mold develops resistance to quickly, growers have come up with complex spray schedules using four or five substances to kill the mold.

Control substance turns out to be answer

Things can be much simpler, American and Wageningen researchers reveal this month in the journal Postharvest Biology and Technology. Ernst Woltering and American colleagues from UC Davis compared commercial substances for getting rid of botrytis in the laboratory. During the test, the researchers used a chlorine solution as the control substance. To their surprise, chlorine worked better than the other substances. A litre of water with a small dash of Glorix (one or two millilitres of household detergent) is all it takes, says Woltering. The chlorine kills the spores of the mold. 'If the plant is already infected by the mold, chlorine is useless.'

No patent

Woltering has in the meantime tested the use of chlorine in batches of roses transported in containers on ships. The use of chlorine has resulted in fifty to seventy percent less damage by botrytis. Moreover, the damage in affected roses is less severe, Woltering concludes from this study.

The researchers have discovered the positive effects of chlorine already two years ago, but wanted first to find out if they can apply for a patent for their discovery. 'But the answer is so terribly simple that it cannot be patented', says Woltering. 'Anyone can buy solution. The discovery cannot be protected. We have therefore decided to publish the outcome.'

Explore further: Chlorine Triggers Protective Nerve Receptor

Related Stories

Chlorine Triggers Protective Nerve Receptor

April 9, 2008

Inhaling chlorine triggers a nerve receptor that protects healthy people by inducing sneezing, coughing, and irritation, but can cause major problems for people with asthma and other respiratory problems, Yale School of Medicine ...

Advance in the battle against 'gray mold'

December 15, 2008

Scientists are reporting identification of the cluster of genes responsible for the toxins produced by "gray mold," a devastating plant disease that kills almost 200 different food and ornamental plants including tomatoes, ...

Changing smell of plants announces fungus attack

October 20, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Tomato plants under attack from the Botrytis fungus give off an aromatic substance that can be measured in greenhouses. This is the result of research performed by Roel Jansen with which he obtained his doctoral ...

Table grapes' new ally: Muscodor albus

April 16, 2010

Small but mighty, a beneficial microbe called Muscodor albus may help protect fresh grapes from troublesome gray mold. Experiments conducted over the past several years by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant pathologist ...

Recommended for you

Stressed out plants send animal-like signals

July 29, 2015

University of Adelaide research has shown for the first time that, despite not having a nervous system, plants use signals normally associated with animals when they encounter stress.

Sex among eukaryotes is far more common than once believed

July 28, 2015

(Phys.org)—For a long time, biologists have considered sex to be an inherent trait of multicellular life, while microbial eukaryotes were considered to be either optionally sexual or purely clonal. From this perspective, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.