Sustainable protection of vegetables against soil diseases: a revolutionary approach

Projecttitel: Sustainable protection of vegetables against soil diseases: a revolutionary approach
Projectnummer: LWV19179
Missie: Kringlooplandbouw
MMIP: A2 - Gezonde, robuuste bodem en teeltsystemen gebaseerd op agro-ecologie en zonder schadelijke emissies naar grond- en oppervlaktewater
Looptijd: 2020 – 2024
Projectleider: Kirsten Leiss

Thiram, a dithiocarbamate, is a common compound of seed coatings to prevent soil-borne fungal diseases among a variety of crops. Thiram will be banned by the European Union because of its’ environmental side effects. The ban will impact crop protection in The Netherlands, and abroad, severely, unless a suitable alternative will be available. The search for such an alternative has been started. An alternative of Thiram should, of course, be efficacious against a range of soil-borne fungal diseases. In addition, its’ anti-fungal activity should be restricted to the surface of the seed and emerging plant, respectively. If not, it may cause unwanted side effects on the environment.

A proof-of-concept of an inherently safe bio-fungicide to control pathogenic soil fungi in vegetables.

The topic of an inherently safe application has hardly been addressed so far in developing bio-pesticides. Binding natural compounds to bio-degradable nanostructures offers excellent opportunities of an inherently safe application, as demonstrated in medicine already. This approach has been picked-up in agriculture very recently confirming the great opportunities.

The vegetable sector is in urgent need for an alternative of Thiram. In addition, the sector faces the challenge to turn to sustainable crop protection. Inherently safe bio-pesticides constitute the missing piece in sustainable crop protection based on resilient crops. Binding a bio-active compound to, and uptake by, a plant in efficacious amounts is a scientific challenge. Publication of the intended proof-of-concept will trigger similar R&D for sure. Society will profit at last by the availability of sufficient vegetables produced in a sustainable way.