Fungal infection control methods for lucky bamboo

Jun 23, 2014
Researchers determined that hot water treatments were not promising for the control of C. dracaenophilum latently present in lucky bamboo. They recommended a systemic approach to controlling the pervasive fungal infection. Credit: Kalpana Sharma.

The popularity of ornamental plants imported to the United States from China is accompanied by concerns about the potential to introduce pathogens into the market. Dracaena, a genus consisting of approximately 40 different species, including the widely recognized "lucky bamboo," is among the most frequently imported group of ornamentals to enter the U.S. for domestic sale and eventual export to Canada. The authors of a new research study say it is crucial to be vigilant about potential pests and pathogens on imported cuttings of Dracaena. "Pests and pathogens currently not in the United States could be imported with Dracaena plant materials," said Ariena H.C. van Bruggen, corresponding author of the study published in HortScience. Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) with anthracnose symptoms was first found in Florida in 2009; the infection was associated with the fungus Colletotrichum dracaenophilum, a pathogen that originated in Asia.

The researchers evaluated the effects of hot water treatments on symptomless lucky bamboo planting material and tested fungicides for the control of Colletotrichum in asymptomatic, but infected, rooted cuttings as well as inoculated plants.

"The most important finding of our study was that the hot water treatments tested were not promising for the control of C. dracaenophilum latently present in lucky bamboo as plants become more susceptible at higher temperatures," the researchers said. The team also determined that seemingly healthy rooted cuttings of lucky bamboo introduced from China may carry C. dracaenophilum, which can induce anthracnose symptoms several months after arrival in the United States. "It is not known which environmental factors may trigger the appearance of symptom. However, in this study, lesions appeared on noninoculated stalks when irrigation intervals were lengthened. Thus, water stress may trigger the induction of symptoms," the authors said.

Remarkably, analyses showed that 25% to 43% of noninoculated lucky bamboo stalks included in the study contained the latent presence of Colletotrichum dracaenophilum. The authors determined that traditional treatments such as those tested in the study were "not promising" for controlling the latent fungus, but noted that other temperature-time combinations could be tested in future studies. Application of the systemic fungicide Azoxystrobin was found to be effective both at preventing new infections by C. dracaenophilum and curing latent infections and anthracnose development on lucky bamboo plants.

The authors recommended implementation of a systems approach to address the problem, including: training and disease management at the source, careful inspection of plants at ports of entry, fungicide treatment of rooted cuttings to eliminate latent infection, and training and disease management in nurseries at lucky bamboo's destinations.

Explore further: Innovative system uses bamboo to treat wastewater

More information: The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: hortsci.ashspublications.org/c… nt/49/4/453.abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Innovative system uses bamboo to treat wastewater

Oct 18, 2013

The quality of water is a worldwide concern. Now more than ever, competent and responsible management of water resources, and especially wastewater treatment, is needed to reduce the impact of human activities ...

Pest-free plant material thanks to CATT method

Nov 12, 2013

A treatment with warm air rich in CO2 and low in oxygen helps clear plants of nematodes, thrips, mosquito larvae and other pests. "It prevents the uncertainty and resistance issues that come with the use ...

SRNL assesses bamboo crop

Jan 12, 2010

Many people who grow bamboo in their yards soon regret it, and spend the rest of their days trying to kill it off. The U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL), however, is glad to have a bamboo ...

Fungi collection key in identifying diseases

Jul 30, 2013

A collection of fungi maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) played a crucial role in helping scientists identify the specific fungus causing an anthracnose disease discovered in a southern ...

Recommended for you

Team defines new biodiversity metric

Aug 29, 2014

To understand how the repeated climatic shifts over the last 120,000 years may have influenced today's patterns of genetic diversity, a team of researchers led by City College of New York biologist Dr. Ana ...

Changes in farming and climate hurting British moths

Aug 29, 2014

Britain's moths are feeling the pinch – threatened on one side by climate change and on the other by habitat loss and harmful farming methods. A new study gives the most comprehensive picture yet of trends ...

User comments : 0