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Evaluation of Ustilago sporoboli-indici as a classical biological control agent for invasive Sporobolus grasses in Australia

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Yobo, K.S., Laing, M.D., Palmer, W.A. and Shivas, R.G. (2009) Evaluation of Ustilago sporoboli-indici as a classical biological control agent for invasive Sporobolus grasses in Australia. Biological Control, 50 (1). pp. 7-12.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2009.01.006

Publisher URL: http://www.elsevier.com


Sporobolus pyramidalis, S. africanus, S. natalensis, S. fertilis and S. jacquemontii, known collectively as the weedy Sporobolus grasses, are exotic weeds causing serious economic losses in grazing areas along Australia's entire eastern coast. In one of the first attempts to provide biological control for a grass, the potential of a smut, Ustilago sporoboli-indici, as a biological control agent for all five weedy Sporobolus spp. found in Australia was evaluated in glasshouse studies. Application of basidiospores to 21-day-old Sporobolus seedlings and subsequent incubation in a moist chamber (26 °C, 90% RH, 48 h) resulted in infection of S. pyramidalis, S. africanus, S. natalensis and S. fertilis but not S. jacquemontii. Host-range trials with 13 native Australian Sporobolus spp. resulted in infection of four native species. Evaluation of damage caused by the smut on two Australian native and two weedy Sporobolus spp. showed that the total numbers of flowers infected for the four grasses were in the following order: S. creber > S. fertilis > S. elongatus > S. natalensis with percentage flower infections of 21%, 14%, 12% and 3%, respectively. Significant differences (P = 0.001) were found when the numbers of infected flowers caused by each treatment were compared. The infection of the four native Sporobolus spp. by the smut indicated that it was not sufficiently host specific for release in Australia and the organism was rejected as a potential biological control agent. The implications of these results are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), Agri-Science, Crop and Food Science , Plant Science, QPIF
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Additional Information:© Elsevier Inc.
Keywords:Sporobolus; Ustilago sporoboli-indici; smut; biological control.
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Plants > Biological control
Live Archive:12 Jun 2009 05:17
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:43

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