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Open AccessArticle

A Generic Model Accounting for the Interactions among Pathogens, Host Plants, Biocontrol Agents, and the Environment, with Parametrization for Botrytis cinerea on Grapevines

1
Department of Sustainable Crop Production, Facoltà di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
2
Horta srl, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2020, 10(2), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10020222
Received: 21 November 2019 / Revised: 22 January 2020 / Accepted: 25 January 2020 / Published: 4 February 2020
Although the use of biocontrol agents (BCAs) to manage plant pathogens has emerged as a sustainable means for disease control, global reliance on their use remains relatively insignificant and the factors influencing their efficacy remain unclear. In this work, we further developed an existing generic model for biocontrol of foliar diseases, and we parametrized the model for the Botrytis cinerea–grapevine pathosystem. The model was operated under three climate types to study the combined effects on BCA efficacy of four factors: (i) BCA mechanism of action, (ii) timing of BCA application with respect to timing of pathogen infection (preventative vs. curative), (iii) temperature and moisture requirements for BCA growth, and (iv) BCA survival capability. All four factors affected biocontrol efficacy, but factors iii and iv accounted for > 90% of the variation in model simulations. In other words, the most important factors affecting BCA efficacy were those related to environmental conditions. These findings indicate that the environmental responses of BCAs should be considered during their selection, BCA survival capability should be considered during both selection and formulation, and weather conditions and forecasts should be considered at the time of BCA application in the field. View Full-Text
Keywords: biological control; Botrytis bunch rot; epidemiological model; mechanisms of action; system analysis; weather conditions biological control; Botrytis bunch rot; epidemiological model; mechanisms of action; system analysis; weather conditions
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Fedele, G.; Bove, F.; González-Domínguez, E.; Rossi, V. A Generic Model Accounting for the Interactions among Pathogens, Host Plants, Biocontrol Agents, and the Environment, with Parametrization for Botrytis cinerea on Grapevines. Agronomy 2020, 10, 222.

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