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    Funguses helping farmers fight soil borne diseases

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    Farm­ers, who make up to 100 per cent losses due to at­tack of crops by nem­at­odes and wilts, can con­trol the mi­crobes by dredging soils using tricho­derma fungus.

    Nem­at­odes, bac­teria wilt, fusarium wilt among other dis­ease caus­ing patho­gens have been clas­si­fied by other farm­ers as ‘HIV’ to mean that once they at­tack crops, re­cov­ery is rare and  most chem­ical con­trols are not ef­fect­ive in erad­ic­at­ing the mi­crobes.

    They at­tack and block roots of to­ma­toes, pep­per, cap­sicum, black night shade, cu­cum­ber, Irish pota­toes, among other crops in the so­lanaceae fam­ily. 

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    The block­age in­ter­rupts trans­lo­ca­tion of food as well as min­er­als and water. The leaves turn yel­low, show­ing de­fi­ciency of min­er­als. The crops start wilt­ing be­fore dying in a few days. 

    Real IPM Ag­ro­nom­ist and en­vir­on­mental ex­pert Isaac Guda said tricho­derma fungus is an ef­fect­ive con­trol of these deadly patho­gens.

    “Tricho­derma is an ag­gress­ive fungus, which once in­tro­duced into the soil quickly spreads to the roots area to give them im­munity. It mul­ti­plies quickly to form colon­ies, which shield the roots against entry of other patho­gens,” Guda said.

    If for in­stance, nem­at­odes have at­tacked the roots of to­ma­toes, trichodrema’s ‘roots’, called hyphae, pen­et­rate into the body of the patho­gen and draw out nu­tri­ents.  This leads to death, the ag­ro­nom­ist said.

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    In ap­plic­a­tion, 2ml of the solu­tion with the fungi is added to one liter of water for dredging the root re­gion.

    On first month, dredging has to be done weekly while on the second month ap­plic­a­tion is done after two weeks. By the third month, the rate re­duces to once be­cause the ‘sol­diers’ have mul­ti­plied and se­cured the re­gion.

    But if the patho­gens have already col­on­ised the re­gion, the tricho­derma elim­in­ates them and ini­ti­ates crop heal­ing by trig­ger­ing growth of new roots, Guda said, adding that that is why it is also called a biofer­til­iser.

    Real IPM can be con­tac­ted on +254725806086

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