Biobest embraces soil-borne disease management in International Year of Soils

“Soils play a central role in food security and essential ecosystem functions,” explains Soraya França, a researcher from the Biobest R&D Microbials team. 5th December is World Soil Day (WSD) with hundreds of events and initiatives taking place around the world to celebrate ‘Soils a solid ground for life.’ This year's WSD will also formally mark the closure of the 2015 International Year of Soils and provide an ideal opportunity to present the Status of the World’s Soil Resources report.

Biobest is actively involved in the development of sustainable alternatives for managing soil-borne diseases. These diseases are important because they are major yield limiting factors in several crops and are difficult to control. The need for sustainable and economic alternatives for chemical soil disinfestation increases more and more in European countries.

Recently, Soraya took part in the Focus Group on IPM practices for soil-borne diseases suppression in vegetables and arable crops. The European Innovation Partnership (EIP AGRI) set up this focus group to map and develop solutions regarding this important topic.

“The Focus Group set out to take stock of the current challenges in the field and current research areas and to identify the needs for further research, proposing priorities for innovative actions,” says Soraya. “This culminated in a final report and factsheet.” http://ec.europa.eu/eip/agriculture/en/content/ipm-practices-soil-borne-diseases-suppression-vegetables-and-arable-crops

To disseminate the results of the focus group in Belgium, Soraya França together with Jane Debode of the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) organised an informative meeting at ILVO in October attracting around 50 researchers and advisers.
Development of good protocols for applying biocontrol agents (BCAs) was one of the research priorities identified in the focus group. Biobest is committed to contributing to this priority.

“Here at Biobest we are supporting research in this topic by developing our own R&D research and by co-financing projects, such as the following IWT research projects in Belgium,” says Soraya.

Biological control of Verticillium wilt by the indigenous endophytic fungus Verticillium tricorpus (2011-2015). Partners: PSKW, Inagro and UGent.

Integrated control strategy for soil-borne fungi and nematodes in leafy vegetables under glass. (FUNSLA)”,(2015-2018). Partners: PCG, PSKW, Inagro, UGent and ILVO.

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