University of Maryland Extension

Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) Demonstration

Wheat bran and molasses sounds like a healthy combination for breakfast cereal, but what impact does it have as a soil treatment for persistent soil borne diseases? A new process called ASD or Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation uses a combination of organic matter and sugars (wheat middling’s and molasses for example) in an anaerobic environment to reduce plant pathogens, weeds and nematodes in soil. Research on ASD was initiated followed the observation that disease was suppressed following periods of flooding. Additional research indicated the disease suppression was enhanced by the addition of organic amendments. The process produces anaerobic conditions that results in volatile compounds such as toxic organic acids and enhances beneficial anaerobic soil microorganisms. Ben Beale, Sarah Hirsh, Habtamu Demissie and Kate Everts trialed this method last fall in two high tunnels (houses) in St. Mary’s county, MD. 

Read about the results of the study here.

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