A bacteria-based biofungicide developed by the Council of Agriculture (COA) can increase the yield of common beans and prevent diseases, officials said.
It is the latest application of the multifunctional biofungicide that can be applied to animals and plants or used as fertilizer or detergent, they said.
Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, a soil bacterium that has the ability to repel bacterium that are harmful to plants, has been used to grow common beans on a trial basis, Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station director Lin Hsueh-hsih (林學詩) said.
“Bean wilt is a disease caused by a type of fungus that causes leaves to droop at noon during the initial stages of the disease, which is commonly known as ‘napping.’ Plants droop because their root system is infected and they cannot absorb enough water. There is no known chemical solution to the disease,” Lin said.
However, an agent developed with Bacillus amyloliquefaciens could prevent 66 percent of bean crops from wilting, increase yields by 15 percent and extend the harvest period by between 15 days and two months, Lin said.
“Because of a prolonged harvest period, beans are often exposed to a higher amount of pesticides, and the biofungicide could be used for growing organic beans,” he said.
The bacterium has been proven to be effective at inhibiting the development of a variety of plant diseases, including sheath blight in beans and black rot in the cabbage family; it can also boost the growth of root systems and increase the fertility of soil.
The bacteria-based fungicide is not known to be harmful to animals or humans, the council said.
The council has developed other biocontrol agents based on the bacteria to treat orchid leaf yellowing disease and gray mold diseases that affect strawberry plants and rice, while they can also increase the yields of water spinach and cabbage.
An agent could reduce orchid leaf yellowing by 58 percent, and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens would persist in the plant, with one dose having a lasting effect, the council said.
The bacteria could be added to fodder to help chickens and pigs digest starch, fiber, protein and fat while inhibiting harmful germs such as Escherichia coli and salmonella.
Technology transfer discussion regarding Bacillus amyloliquefaciens-based microbial fungicides is under way and the fungicides could be mass produced and available on the market at the end of this month at the earliest, the council said.
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