The role of onion-associated fungi in bulb mite infestation and damage to onion seedlings

Tal Ofek, Shira Gal, Moshe Inbar, Sara Lebiush-Mordechai, Leah Tsror, Eric Palevsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Israel Rhizoglyphus robini is considered to be a pest in its own right, even though the mite is usually found in association with fungal pathogens. Plant protection recommendations are therefore to treat germinating onions seedlings, clearly a crucial phase in crop production, when mites are discovered. The aim of this study was to determine the role of fungi in bulb mite infestation and damage to germinating onion seedlings. Accordingly we (1) evaluated the effect of the mite on onion seedling germination and survival without fungi, (2) compared the attraction of the mite to species and isolates of various fungi, (3) assessed the effect of a relatively non-pathogenic isolate of Fusarium oxysporum on mite fecundity, and (4) determined the effects of the mite and of F. oxysporum separately and together, on onion seedling germination and sprout development. A significant reduction of seedling survival was recorded only in the 1,000 mites/pot treatment, after 4 weeks. Mites were attracted to 6 out of 7 collected fungi isolates. Mite fecundity on onion sprouts infested with F. oxysporum was higher than on non-infested sprouts. Survival of seedlings was affected by mites, fungi, and their combination. Sprouts on Petri dishes after 5 days were significantly longer in the control and mite treatments than both fungi treatments. During the 5-day experiment more mites were always found on the fungi-infected sprouts than on the non-infected sprouts. Future research using suppressive soils to suppress soil pathogens and subsequent mite damage is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-448
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental and Applied Acarology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Fusarium oxysporum
  • Mite-fungal interaction
  • Onion
  • Rhizoglyphus robini
  • Weakly-pathogenic fungi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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