The relative effectiveness of homeopathic preparations of pythium spp. compared to Previcur (Propamocarb), in the control of pythium root rot (damping off) in cabbage and cucumber seedlings
The purpose of this study was to expand on the foundations laid by previous homeopathic research, using controlled agricultural experiments as an objective disease system. More specifically, these trials were to investigate and evaluate the efficacy of a fungicide (Previcur') against homeopathic preparations of a plant pathogenic fungus, Pythium, on seedlings infected with this fungus. Pythium is a worldwide problem and continues to cause substantial crop losses. Few chemical methods are available to control this disease and alternatives are being sought which are more cost-effective, safer for the environment and do not lead to pathogenic resistance. Relatively few trials using Homeopathy in plant pathology have been done to date. Furthermore, many of the earlier trials proved to have little scientific credibility, due to poor methods and insufficient data. More recent trials have shown interesting results, which have opened the doors for further investigation. This study compared the effects of Previcur\xAEagainst Homeopathic preparations of Pythium, on infected cabbage and cucumber seedlings. There were 28 trays for each crop and seven treatments per crop: four Homeopathic treatments (9CH, 15CH, 30CH and 200CH), two controls (one inoculated and the other un-inoculated) and Previcur'. The seedlings were treated twice weekly, using a 2.5ml drench per seedling, and were harvested three weeks after planting. The trial was run twice, in succession. Based on the nature of Pythium and the disease it causes, four parameters were measured in this trial. To assess the germination rate, the seedlings were counted three days after planting, to establish how many had broken the surface soil. To assess survival rate, the seedlings were counted at the time of harvesting. To assess growth, the seedlings were initially weighed wet (immediately after harvesting) and then dry (after 24 hours in an oven at 50\xB0C). The data was analysed by two methods: the General Linear Models Procedure (GLMP) produced ANOVA tables, which compared the variation between the four replicates of each of the seven treatments. The data was also analysed with the Student Newman Keuls (SNK) test, to determine the variation between the seven treatments. The results showed that Previcur®consistently produced the best or second best results, in terms of mean wet and dry weights, which was evident in the statistical analysis. However, a noticeable trend emerged with the 30CH treatment: it provided the lowest mean weights in seven of the eight parameters measured while showing evidence of consistent statistical significance from the other treatments throughout both trials. The implications were that this treatment had either enhanced the disease process or had suppressed plant growth. Student Newman Keuls (SNK) test, to determine the variation between the seven treatments. This trial raised issues regarding the effects of homeopathy on disease, as well as the internal mechanisms of disease control within plant structures. Further research into this area is encouraged, to further the platform already laid by statistically valid trials done thus far.