What is pythium?
Learn about this parasitic fungus that poses big problems for farmers and harvesters.
Thu, Jul 22 2010 at 3:38 PM
Pythium, often referred to as water mold, is a parasite that was once thought to be a kind of fungi.
It is often found in fields and greenhouses, posing a great problem for farmers and harvesters.
The parasite is especially threatening since it attacks seedlings.
Pythium can be transferred through the soil of infected plants.
Since it infects the roots, crop rotation is often not enough to eradicate the mold once a root rot develops.
Botanists and farmers are currently looking for new and effective methods of exterminating the mold.
There are already some methods of prevention and extermination, although once the pythium has infected a crop it is very difficult to fully get rid of.
By selecting areas with well-drained soils, and avoiding soil temperatures colder than 45 degrees farenheit and warmer than 70 degrees farenheit, the mold has a lesser chance of surviving.
Still, pythium can survive in very moist conditions even at these temperatures.
If rot is present, and a certain area of soil is waterlogged, it is best to be kept unharvested.
Seedlings and plant roots should be kept cool and dry during loading, transit, and storage in order to avoid infection.
A four year crop rotation can keep the fungus at bay, but does not eradicate the problem for the most part.
Infected plants should be weeded out, along with the infected soil.
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