Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) is commercially the most important annual culinary herb crop in the United States Yet; our domestic basil crop is currently threatened by a new devastating disease, basil downy mildew. This disease caused by Peronospora belbahrii has been impacting significant acreage commercially and even home gardens and nurseries. Basil varieties with downy mildew and Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. basilica) resistance/tolerance are critically needed because the US production acreage is at-risk to these two economically-important diseases. The loss of methyl bromide for Fusarium wilt control and other fumigants in the near future removes the only reliable means of controlling Fusarium wilt, other than host plant resistance. No resistance and at present very few chemical controls are presently available for basil downy mildew control. The development of improved varieties along with the development of a disease forecasting and monitoring system and improved food safety and disease management strategies is critically needed to allow US basil producers and distributors to remain competitive in the international basil marketplace and ensure only safe and registered chemical controls are used. This project will support the US and global basil industry in two critically needed areas: first, through the identification and development of basil downy mildew resistant and chilling-tolerant basil cultivars and species of which both cause significant crop and economic losses to US growers. Secondly, this project will develop disease management strategies that include bioassays for detecting infested seed, a disease monitoring and forecasting, as well as identify an array of organic and conventional fungicides that can control downy mildew in commercial and organic farming operations throughout the US. This consortium brings together the leading researchers from Rutgers University, Cornell University, University of Massachusetts, and the University of Florida with stakeholder inputs from commercial growers in New Jersey and Florida, seed companies with buyers and national fresh produce and culinary herb distributors into a strong public: private sector partnership to solve their critical constraints in basil production.
|Effective start/end date||8/1/10 → 7/31/11|
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))