OFRF Researches Organic Suppression Methods for Soil-Borne Plant Pathogens

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is currently working on a project that could assist organic farmers in seed treatment. Conventional farming practices that focus on chemical treatment and fumigation can be harmful to both the environment and humans alike, and many of these methods are prohibited in organic production. OFRF is expanding on the work of prior studies that found suppression of soil-borne plant pathogens from microbes present in solid and liquid organic soil amendments.

OFRF seeks to identify which specific subset of microbes is responsible for this pathogen suppression. Once identified, the questions that remain are: can plant protection from soil-borne pathogens be achieved by deploying these microbes, and if so, can this be developed as an effective method for use organic production systems?

The project’s goal is to create a “proof-of-concept” that both compost and vermicompost microbe treatments prior to sowing can protect seeds against soil-borne pathogens. Seeds will be treated with a powder form of the compost and evaluated for disease suppression under lab settings. After the lab portion of the research, this seed treatment method will be tested on certified organic land.

A final report will be presented upon completion of this study, so stay tuned! More information about OFRF’s work is available at www.ofrf.org.