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Effect of Sunstainable Versus Conventional Fertilization Practices on Populations of Pythium and Fusarium on Roots of Lettuce in 1990 Field TestThis report focuses upon our efforts to evaluate the effect of sustainable versus conventional fertilization practices on subsequent populations of soil-borne pathogens on lettuce roots. The different fertilization treatments included conventional fertilizer, composted cow manure, and a biological soil conditioner. Near plant maturity, lettuce roots were collected from the field and the populations of Pythium and Fusarium were determined. The lowest population of both of these pathogens was found in the plots fertilized with composted cow manure, while the highest levels of Pythium and Fusarium were detected in the plots treated with conventional fertilizer. Further field studies are planned to confirm these initial findings. Of the two pathogens assayed, Pythium is of greatest concern because of its ability to destroy roots and reduce plant growth and vigor. Species of Fusarium are commonly found in soil and on plant roots and usually do not cause damage to plants unless the plants are under stress.