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Feasibility of classical biological control of Sonchus oleraceus in Australia

Abstract : Sonchus oleraceus L. (Asteraceae), an annual species native to Eurasia and northern Africa, is among the most widely distributed plant species on Earth. In Australia, S. oleraceus, is a common weed in disturbed areas such as crop fields, pastures, gardens and roadsides. In agricultural settings, it can dominate fallows and cultivated fields where it uses stored soil moisture and reduces crop yield. This weed has also developed herbicide resistance, predicating the need for alternative management solutions. In this context, we undertook field surveys and preliminary host range studies in the native range of S. oleraceus to determine the feasibility of developing classical biological control solutions for Australia. Fifty-nine phytophagous arthropod species were recorded and nine pathogenic fungi were recovered from disease symptoms. Four arthropod species were selected for initial host-specificity testing based on information available in the literature. Preliminary host-specificity tests were also performed with representative isolate(s) of six of the pathogenic fungi. All these candidate agents were shown in the tests to affect key native species in Australia in the same subtribe as S. oleraceus (i.e. Sonchus hydrophilus and Actites megalocarpus). The results of our investigations suggest that classical biological control may not be a feasible option for the management of S. oleraceus in Australia, and that alternative integrated weed management tactics may need to be pursued to mitigate the impacts of this weed.
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 12:18:34 PM
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Vincent Lesieur, Mireille Jourdan, Thierry Thomann, Mélodie Ollivier, Johannes Tavoillot, et al.. Feasibility of classical biological control of Sonchus oleraceus in Australia. Biocontrol Science and Technology, Taylor & Francis, In press, pp.1-30. ⟨10.1080/09583157.2021.1936451⟩. ⟨hal-03263474⟩



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