Carolyn Bleach

January 2, 2012 2 Comments

Carolyn first came to Lincoln to do a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology degree (BV&O), in pursuit of a career change that would allow her to follow her passion. Though she had begun the program thinking she would like to own her own vineyard, after completing her BV&O a series of events led her to work on a research project surveying New Zealand vineyards to determine the incidence and distribution of the grapevine disease ‘Cylindrocarpon black foot’. As a result of this project, Carolyn began a Master’s degree investigating possible methods to control black foot disease, but the project was so ambitious that after 18 months it was upgraded to a PhD.

Now, five years into her PhD work, Carolyn is writing up the results of the many trials that comprise her research. These have included both field and in vitro studies looking at cultural, chemical, and biological methods of control. The initial studies investigated treatments to be implemented in nurseries, such as hot water treatment, chemical treatments, and the biocontrol agent Trichoderma. The hot water treatment was very effective in ridding the nursery vines of the disease pathogens, however the vines appeared to become re-infected upon planting in the vineyard.

For this reason, Carolyn focused her investigation on treating the soil and so tested treatments such as: composts, chemical fumigation, biofumigation with mustard treatments and colonization of the young roots by mycorrhizae species.  While some experiments are still being analysed, the results of a substantial part of her research have recently been submitted as a New Zealand Winegrowers report and will be of great use to the New Zealand wine industry in its fight against black foot disease.


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  1. Ian Ferguson
    February 16, 2012 - 11:54 pm

    It has been suggested by Ian Harvey at Plantwise that you may be able to help with advice around biofumigation of soil pests using brassicas.
    We are currently looking at ways to deal with root Knot nematode in process carrot production in Mid Canterbury,. any advice or suggestions that you could provide would be greatfully recieved.

    Ian Ferguson

    • Carolyn Bleach
      February 20, 2012 - 8:59 pm

      Thank you for your enquiry. My research focused on soil borne fungi and so the control products I tested may not have any efficacy against root knot nematode, they would need to be tested. I found that biofumigation using Brassica juncea (mustard seed) most effective against black foot disease caused by soil borne Cylindrocarpon spp. There are more potent organic mustards available which could be tested as a potential biofumigation control and this would be an interesting study. I would be happy to discuss this further if you think it might be useful.


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