Spain: Two biological products against Monilinia in stone fruit

The IRTA researcher (Spain) Neus Teixidó, together with the rest of the Post-harvest pathology team, has directed a task of the European project BIOCOMES with the aim of developing two biological control products to combat brown rot in stone fruit.

In a natural ecosystem, plants are constantly attacked by all kinds of pests and diseases, such as insects, fungi and bacteria. Vegetables are able to survive thanks to the intervention of natural enemies of pests and harmful pathogens. But crop fields are more unstable because of human interference. The natural enemies of diseases that damage plants tend to develop too late or in insufficient numbers. Biological control consists of releasing more of such organisms to fight the pests and diseases that can negatively affect the production.

IRTA's research in the BIOCOMES project has focused on developing two biological products, a strain of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens and another of Penicillium frequentans, as well as a control strategy based on their use to fight the Monilinia, the fungus that most frequently affects stone fruit crops in Europe. The control of this disease is mostly done through the use of synthetic chemicals. The introduction of stricter legislation and the growing consumer demand for healthier, safer and more environmentally-friendly products have made it even more necessary to find an alternative for the treatment of pests and diseases.

The results obtained by IRTA researchers show that the two biological control products studied achieve similar results to those of the chemical products in the treatment of brown rot in stone fruits. The effectiveness of these biological products has been validated in different European areas: in cherry fields in Belgium and in peach and nectarine fields in Italy, France and Catalonia.

The last necessary step following the project's completion is the registration and implementation of these new biological control products in the market. The results of IRTA's research provide new tools to producers and advantages to the consumer, allowing compliance with legislative restrictions and responding to the demand for healthy and safe food.

BIOCOMES has been a 4-year project with the participation of 27 partners (13 companies and 14 research institutions) from 14 different countries that has aimed to develop biological products for the European agricultural and forestry sector.

Source: IRTA

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