We evaluated the possibilities of exploitation of several mycoparasitic fungi in the biocontrol of cucurbit powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca fusca) in melon greenhouses. To simplify the screening, an in vitro biological control test on detached leaves of melon has been used and a detailed microscopic analysis of the interactions between mycoparasites and S. fusca conducted. In this context, the effect of mycoparasitic fungi on the formation of infection structures of S. fusca such as haustoria, conidia and conidiospores has been quantified. On the basis of the microscopic data, effect of mycoparasites on severity and incidence of cucurbit powdery mildew has been discussed. Our results show that, under controlled environmental conditions, Acremonium alternatum, Ampelomyces quisqualis and especially Lecanicillium lecanii, when applied in early stages of infection, were able to significantly reduce cucurbit powdery mildew symptoms and S. fusca development on melon leaves. These results indicate that these mycoparasites are promising candidates for the biocontrol of cucurbit powdery mildew in melon greenhouses.
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