Virtual Hydrilla Field Day 2009


Element 3, Task 1: Demonstration of hydrilla control with Mycoleptodiscus terrestris, or Mt, a contact bioherbicide

Station 2

Station 2

Classical insect biological control can be particularly successful at controlling invasive pests of foreign origin. The underlying principal of classical biological control is that pests are kept in equilibrium in their native ranges by a complex of biological checks and balances such as insects, diseases, nematodes and other biological organisms. When introduced into another geographical location, away from these natural checks, the organism proliferates and becomes a serious pest. Thus, classical biocontrol of weeds consists of determining the native range of an exotic plant and searching that range for natural checks and balances with the goal of determining safety of the controlling organism and introducing it into the area where the weed is a pest.

Mycoleptodiscus terrestris, or Mt, bioherbicide studies are being conducted by Dr. Mark Heilman. Dr. Heilman’s research focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of Mt in the treatment of hydrilla.

First discovered in the early 1970’s, Mycoleptodiscus terrestris still remains to be fully developed as an operational tool for aquatic plant management. Early developmental efforts failed to reach the level of product stability and virulence needed to allow the aquatic plant pathogen to be fully commercialized. This ongoing collaborative effort between the USDA-ARS-NCAUR, the Aquatic Plant Control Research Program at the Environmental Laboratory of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, and SePRO Corporation has developed new fermentation methods that enhance Mt virulence on hydrilla while providing a new dry, stable Mt material that can be incorporated with other materials and stored for several months or more prior to use. Latest research efforts have focused upon development of new dry Mt formulations using the new production methods with the goals of enhancing attachment of Mt propagules to treated hydrilla and further improving overall performance to reach commercially viable levels of activity and efficacy. History of biocontrol using plant pathogens has shown that formulation adjustments can have profound impact on the effectiveness of such pathogens for plant pest control.

Station 2
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Evaluation of currently registered herbicides

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Search for natural enemies of
hygrophila and hydrilla