Topsin-M: the new benomyl for mycorrhizal-suppression experiments

TitleTopsin-M: the new benomyl for mycorrhizal-suppression experiments
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsWilson, GT, Williamson, MM
Pagination548 -554
Accession NumberKNZ001223

The fungicide benomyl was the most commonly used biocide for both field and greenhouse experiments in which arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) suppression is desired. Unfortunately benomyl is no longer manufactured and therefore is not available for experimental use and no fungicide has been proposed as a successful alternative for experimentally suppressing mycorrhizal fungi. In this study we examined the potential for the fungicide Topsin M® (topsin) to suppress mycorrhizal symbiosis in both field and greenhouse experiments. Topsin reduced AMF colonization of the obligately mycotrophic, warm-season grass Andropogon gerardii with a large and significant reduction in plant biomass production. Topsin reduced AMF colonization of the facultatively mycotrophic, cool-season grass Pascopyron smithii but did not significantly reduce biomass production. Fertilization with nitrogen and phosphorus was able to compensate for reductions in biomass due to the application of fungicide because biomass production of plants that received topsin fungicide was not significantly different from fertilized controls not receiving topsin. While we are not advocating that topsin fungicide is a universal mechanism for mycorrhizal-suppressed controls, in systems where benomyl was found to be successful topsin appears to be a useful, available and successful alternative.