November 01, 2007
Root diseases caused by soilborne plant pathogens are responsible for billions of dollars of losses annually in food, fiber, ornamental, and biofuel crops. The use of pesticides often is not an option to control plant diseases because of economic factors or potential adverse effects on the environment or human health. For this reason, many Americans are now buying pesticide-free organic foods. Organic agriculture has few options for controlling pests and thus must make full use of natural microbial biological control agents in soils that suppress diseases.