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Combined application of soil solarisation and disease suppressive compost in the management of onion white rot

Ndivhuzani Netshithuthuni, Mapotso A. Kena


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of disease suppressive compost combined with soil solarisation on sclerotia viability of S. cepivorum and white rot severity in susceptible onion cultivars. Treatments under both greenhouse and micro-plots experiments comprised of seven treatments: control (+ and -), solarised soil combined with five rates of disease suppressive compost (722g, 770g, 818g, 866g and 914g) arranged in RCBD with 6 replications. Sclerotia populations and viability were determined by counting the total number of isolated and germinated respectively. Disease incidence and severity were determined during harvest by counting the total number of onion plants showing white rot symptoms and using a disease severity scale of 0-5 respectively. Results showed that soil solarisation was highly effective in reducing sclerotia populations and viability in infected fields. There was also a significant (P ≤ 0.05) reduction in white rot incidences and severity in all treatments where solarised soil was amended with disease suppressive compost irrespective of planting site. The lowest disease incidence and severity were recorded where infected soil was amended with 866g and 914g of disease suppressive compost. It was further that an increase in compost rates correlated with a reduction in disease occurrence. In conclusion, both soil solarisation and compost can be effectively used in the management of onion white rot, especially under smallholder production. 

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