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Pythium in Hydnophytinae

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Hello all,


luckily I have very few problems with tuber rot in ant plants. Unfortunately, however, some growers are really plagued with this issue. Recently I had a rare occurrence of this disease and decided to send the plant to a professional lab for diagnosis.

Today I got the result - Pythium with a superinfection of Fusarium. Most likely, the Fusarium only grew on the dead tissue killed by Pythium.

Since Pythium is a serious threat to many food crops, there are many chemical agents against these Oomycetes - strictly speaking they are NOT fungi.

I plan to test some of the chemicals in near future on healthy plants to rule out problems. Since some chemicals cause severe growth arrests and other problems in growing plants, using them in larger scale without previous testing is very risky.

The active ingredients of "fungicides" that are used frequently against Pythium are:

  • Fosetyl
  • Fenamidone
  • Propamocarb
  • Metalaxyl
  • Hymexacol

and others...


I'll post updates in the forum.


All the best



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Hi Andreas,


Actually, this disease is my biggest problem with Hydnophytinae. I've lose many of the oldest plants because of it, and I still osberve a high mortality in young plants.


I've try two chemicals : Previcur and Aliette. I don't see any effect.


After our talk in december, I contact a laboratory to try to identify really the problem and got an adapted solution. Today I'm still in discussion with it, it's a little bit difficult with administration in France...


Thus, after a reflexion with an other organism of prevention, I know where the fungi come from: I try several years ago to add some composted leaves in the substrate of some Nepenthes or Hydnophytinae. Nearly all the plants which contribute to this test is now died... It took many month to more than a year, but all these plants get fungal attack! Because the plants don't died together, nor quickly after the test, I just realise now where the problem came from...


So, the test is really conclusive: NEVER use composted leaves for epiphytic ant-plants!


Yet, Jean-François advise me to try a biological solution: another fungi, Trichoderma harzianum. This fungi enter in rivalry with patogens, and can sometimes eat phytophtora and other. Our supplier in biological pest control can provide us this biological agent, and I've try to put it in myrmecophytes in january. Moreother, I read completely by accident the chapter "cultivation" of the latest edition of Nepenthes of Borneo (Philipps, Lamb & C.Lee) this morning, and they also advise Trichoderma spp. in preventive action against oomycetes.


The best,

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For important myrmecophyte collections such as the one at the Nancy Botanical Garden, I wonder if importing one or more mutualistic ant species so they can be established within appropriate ant-house species, may also provide fungus etc controls. Many if not all ant species produce co-evolved anti-pathogen secretions.   Philidris cordata seems a good choice but there appears to be little study of their 'antiseptic' properties. Being tropical species Philidris are very unlikely to survive outside of heated glasshouses.  Lots on the WWW about this subject.

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What an exiting perspective!

Breed mutualistic ants with our myrmecophytes is a youthfull dream for us. My predecessor also tried to obtain ants but he never success in it. Since our director is a specialist of ants, I ask him if he could inquired his contacts to obtain some of it.


We have actually a big colony of a non-mutualistic ant in the greenhouses. I forget its name, but it's an invasive species, common in tropical greenhouses. A small, speed yellow ant. This species is nearly in every greenhouses, and is sometimes on Hydnophytinae but don't seems to stay in it for a long time. The plants doesn't look to take advantage from them.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Since february I've tried one Trichoderma harzianum application per month.

I also made a severe prophyllaxy: every plant which looks ill is removed.


The number of plants in cultivation dramatically decrease since a few months, but the remnant looks better since spring... Accomodation to the pests? Effects of Trichoderma? Effect of spring itself (increase of duration and quality of sun, increase of temperature)?


Moreover, a few weeks before, I've heard about "Mycostop", a Streptomyces (bacteria) which is known to struggle effectively against Oomycetes.




This "product", absolutely compatible with our production technicals (biological pest control), just receive its sales permission in France. I immediately contact the local supplier. As it's too recent, he can't supply us know, but I've good hopes about it.


To finish, I'll receive this week some pellets of "Trianum G", pellets with Trichoderma harzianum spores.




I will repot every plants in end of spring or early summer, when sun bright a lot and temperatures are high, and add these pellets in the substrate. I think I'll also avoid clay pots, as I suspect they could retain spores of Oomycetes. Only plastic pots previously desinfected will be used.

As humidity of the greenhouse where ant-plants are cultivated is high, I'll prefer drilled plastic pots, as these used for orchids or pond plants.


To be continued...

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Hi Jeff,


Just see the "distributors" section:




The (only one) contact for France is


Lallemand Plant Care SAS
4 route de Beaupuy
F-31180 Castelmaurou

Mr Jean-Marc Sanchez
Tel: +33 5 34 27 67 80
Fax: +33 5 62 79 20 62

jmsanchez ( a ) lallemand.com


Jean-Marc Sanchez says himself:


Mycostop est en effet produit par notre groupe, et nous venons à peine d’avoir l’AMM en France. Pour être franc, nous n’avons pas mis en place encore la commercialisation.
De quelle quantité auriez vous besoin ?
Nous n’avons qu’une formulation en poudre à suspendre dans l’eau.
Bien cordialement,


(in short for non-french spokers: it's too early to sell it!)


Jeff, I think you'll have the same answer...


Andreas, I've seen that Verdera has a distributor in Germany, but sadly they didn't offer Mycostop.


The best,



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