Research – Major Soilborne Pathogens of Field Processing Tomatoes and Management Strategies



Globally, tomato is the second most cultivated vegetable crop next to potato, preferentially grown in temperate climates. Processing tomatoes are generally produced in field conditions, in which soilborne pathogens have serious impacts on tomato yield and quality by causing diseases of the tomato root system. Major processing tomato-producing countries have documented soilborne diseases caused by a variety of pathogens including bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and oomycetes, which are of economic importance and may threaten food security. Recent field surveys in the Australian processing tomato industry showed that plant growth and yield were significantly affected by soilborne pathogens, especially Fusarium oxysporum and Pythium species. Globally, different management methods have been used to control diseases such as the use of resistant tomato cultivars, the application of fungicides, and biological control. Among these methods, biocontrol has received increasing attention due to its high efficiency, target-specificity, sustainability and public acceptance. The application of biocontrol is a mix of different strategies, such as applying antagonistic microorganisms to the field, and using the beneficial metabolites synthesized by these microorganisms. This review provides a broad review of the major soilborne fungal/oomycete pathogens of the field processing tomato industry affecting major global producers, the traditional and biological management practices for the control of the pathogens, and the various strategies of the biological control for tomato soilborne diseases. The advantages and disadvantages of the management strategies are discussed, and highlighted is the importance of biological control in managing the diseases in field processing tomatoes under the pressure of global climate change.

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