Antagonistic Activity of Metarhizium anisopliae (Metschnikoff) Against Phytopathogenic Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Schlecht.) as a Biological Control
The search for the most effective, organic, biological control against fungal-related diseases of economically-important crops such as banana is still being encouraged in the Philippines. This study evaluated the antagonistic activity of beneficial endophytic fungi, T. viride and entomopathogenic fungi, M. anisopliae against F. oxysporum (causative agent of Banana Wilt disease) using dual culture method for 10 days incubation period. The study employed Complete Randomized Design (T1= T. viride vs. F. oxysporum; T2= M. anisopliae vs. F. oxysporum; and control plate = F. oxysporum alone) in five replications. Percent inhibition of radial growth (PIRG) and bell rating across treatment groups were analyzed using two sample T-test (p ≤0.05). Results showed that both biological control fungi (T. viride and M. anisopliae) manifested antagonistic activity against F. oxysporum, where T. viride registered stronger inhibition (PIRG=72.37%; Bell Rating=2) than M. anisopliae (PIRG=31.27%; Bell Rating=3). The superior antagonistic action of T. viride and M. anisopliae against F. oxysporum may be attributed to their production of hydrolytic enzymes which facilitated growth inhibition of F. oxysporum. To observe stable antagonistic interaction among these fungi, future studies may consider longer incubation period as well as in vivo field trial on infected banana crops.