Nutrient management for disease control in tomato


PE 017 - Nutrient management for disease control in tomato

Start Date: 
Completion Date: 
Project Leader: 
Sarah Mayne, ADAS UK Ltd
PE 017

Industry representative: Philip Morley and Nigel Bartle

HDC Project cost: £12,770


The Problem

Nutrient management is primarily targeted at optimising crop yield and fruit quality, although there is relatively little available information for growers on how to manage crop nutrition for enhanced disease resistance whilst maintaining yield and quality. This project will review, analyse and summarise current literature to identify links between nutrient management and the incidence and severity of pathogen attack in protected edible crops. Whilst the review will be broad in scope, specific examples with potential for application to tomato crops will be identified.
Results will be classified in relation to pathogen identity and lifestyle, for example, whether vascular, foliar or root infecting; fungal, bacterial or viral; biotroph, nectrotroph or hemibiotroph. The degree of disease control achieved from published work will be evaluated and the potential application to current growing practices summarised. Whilst this work focuses on hydroponic crops, there is potential for soil grown crop data to provide insights for effective disease suppressing nutrient management. The likely extent to which nutrient management could control disease will be quantified where possible, and factors influencing how widely applicable techniques would be in a commercial production environment will be discussed. It is also important to review sources for reliability and robustness if they are to inform on future management practices.
Aims and objectives
Project aim: To elucidate the role of selected nutrients for plant disease resistance, tolerance and development in tomato.

Project objectives:
1. To review current literature on the impact of crop nutrition on the occurrence and severity of plant diseases in protected edible crops and identify knowledge gaps;
2. To identify potential nutrient management strategies for use in hydroponic tomato which have a high probability of conferring improved disease control to long season tomato crops;
3. To propose R&D areas where there appears to be significant potential to develop crop nutrition management strategies to assist sustainable disease control in tomato.

4. To enhance the reputation of the industry by using targeted nutrient management as a cost effective and sustainable approach to enhancing crop pathogen resistance. This will help to meet the expectations of the retailers and consumers in the purchase and consumption of safe and nutritious food.