Efficiency of garden waste compost teas on tomato growth and its suppressiveness against soilborne pathogens

<div><p>ABSTRACT: The use of compost teas is of great interest to sustainable agriculture. Aerated compost tea (ACT) and aerated vermicompost tea (AVT) originating from garden waste have been analytically characterized and tested in vitro and in vivo on tomato plants to determine their suppressive effect on Rhizoctonia solani and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici. The nitrogen (N, 3840 ppm) and potassium superoxide (K2O, 5800 ppm) contents were relevant in ACT. Both ACT and AVT were shown to contain indoleacetic acid IAA (80 - 20 mg L−1), salicylic acid (5.85 - 1.33 ng L−1) and humic acids (190 - 140 mg L−1). Direct confrontation assays against the pathogens showed that ACT had a high suppressive effect on F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici (relative growth of the pathogen [RG]: 12 %) and AVT had a high suppressive effect on R. solani (RG: 18 %). These suppressive effects have been confirmed by tests performed in vitro and on potted tomato plants. Results of plants growth assays showed that both teas can be applied, in their concentrated forms, to the growth medium. The analysis of the growth effect of the teas on tomato plants clearly indicated that both ACT and AVT, when applied weekly, produce a positive effect on shoot and root dry weight (dry weights were tripled), chlorophyll content and stem diameter compared to untreated plants. These results support the use of ACT and AVT as potential alternatives to the application of synthetic fungicides, and as plant promoters in crop production, for attaining environmental sustainability for farming and food safety.</p></div>