Producing Bacterial Wilt–Free Ginger in Greenhouse Culture Paul Hepperly1,4, Francis Zee1, Russell Kai1, Claire Arakawa1, Mark Meisner2 , Bernard Kratky2, Kert Hamamoto1, and Dwight Sato3 1
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Service (PBARC), Hilo; 2CTAHR Beaumont Agricultural Research Center, Hilo; 3CTAHR Cooperative Extensive Service, Hilo Extension Office; 4The Rodale Institute
inger wilt, caused by a bacterium known as Ralstonia solanacearum (Smith) Yabuuchi, is the most limiting factor in the production of culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) in Hawaii. The disease was responsible for a 45 percent statewide production loss of the ginger crop in 1993. It is a complex and difficult disease to control, infecting the ginger crop through all phases of a production cycle. It is present systemically in seed rhizomes as both an active and latent infection that contaminates seed-pieces when they are cut and prepared for field planting. In open-field production, even when disease-free starting materials are used in a clean field, it is difficult for a grower to prevent introduction of the disease from nearby diseased fields by means such as water runoff (as described by Trujillo, 1964) and human, equipment, and animal traffic. In fact, it is becoming more difficult for ginger farmers in the eastern part of the Island of Hawaii to find suitable planting areas that are not already contaminated by the ginger wilt bacteria. The availability of methyl bromide for use as a pre-planting soil fumigant against this pathogen is gradually being phased out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Alternative disease management approaches have to be sought for ginger production to remain viable in Hawaii. The greenhouse production system we describe in this publication was inspired by a “noncirculating hydroponic method” (Kratky 1998). Tissue-cultured ginger plantlets produced at PBARC in Hilo provided clean,
bacterial wilt–free starting materials. The greenhouse production and management system using rhizomes produced from tissue-cultured plants was developed, modified, and tested from 2000 to 2004 at PBARC. Some advantages of greenhouse production • A “clean start” is ensured by using clean seed rhizomes planted in a wilt-free greenhouse using a wiltfree commercial growing medium. • Seed-pieces are of high quality because the rhizomes are selected from second-generation plants of tissueFigure 1. A 26-pound ginger rhizome, about 16 inches across, harvested from a single production bag.
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Producing Bacterial Wilt–Free Ginger in Greenhouse Culture
SCM-8 — June 2004
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culture origin, which allows for elimination of the offtype rhizomes that may be produced from first-generation tissue-cultured plants. Control over growing conditions is assured when the growing area is secured and protected from weather throughout the growing season, reducing the potential for accidental introduction of the disease. Production is “unitized,” in that each grow-bag is a production unit, allowing for quick removal from the area of a plant...