Biotech Updates

Indian Mustard May Be Alternative to Fumigation in Cotton

March 18, 2011

Nematodes infecting cotton are usually controlled by plant fumigants. Other crops such strawberries also receive a yearly dose of methyl bromide to control plant pathogens. However, these practices may need to be replaced by a more effective and cost reducing strategy that uses brassicas as ‘biofumigants'. Brassicas that include crops like mustards, collards, kale, broccoli, and others have been used as ‘biofumigants' in some countries in Europe for they contain glucosinolates in the plant residue. When broken down, glucosinolates become compounds comparable to the active ingredients in some commercial fumigants.

Craig Rothrock and colleagues at University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture conducted preliminary studies in greenhouse and small pot experiments in farmers' fields by using Indian mustard as winter cover crop in cotton fields. Results showed that the crops can be used as effective and economical biofumigant to control nematodes and some seedling disease pathogens in Arkansas cotton fields.

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