BIOCOMES

Project

Development of eleven new sustainable crop protection products

As a result of the EU BIOCOMES project, farmers, market gardeners and foresters can look forward to eleven new sustainable crop protection agents, all biological in origin and derived from natural enemies of pests.

The EU is stimulating the growth of biological crop protection through the BIOCOMES project, to which it contributes nearly nine million euros. The total project budget amounts to twelve million euros.

Aims

The development of eleven new biological crop protection products that will provide an environmentally friendly alternative to current major chemical pesticides used in European agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

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Method

The selected BIOCOMES products were identified beforehand by means of a market analysis carried out by six European producers of biological crop protection agents. The BIOCOMES project brings together the expertise of ten small and middle-sized companies, three larger industrial partners and fourteen research partners. These 27 consortium partners come from fourteen different countries.

Desired outcomes

The development of eleven new, sustainable crop protection agents to combat important diseases and pests in agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

The diseases are:

  • Monilinia brown rot in stone fruit
  • Mycorrhiza infections that develop when cultivating young trees for forestry
  • Fusarium in maize and wheat
  • Powdery mildew in grain crops
  • Verticillium wilt in cabbage

And the pests:

  • Aphids in fruit
  • Whitefly in vegetables
  • Cabbage moth (Mamestra brassicae)
  • Gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) in woods and orchards
  • Large pine weevil (Hylobius abietis) in woods
  • Potato tuber moth (Phthorimaea opercullella) in potato, tomato, tobacco and aubergine
  • Leafminer (Tuta absoluta) in greenhouse horticulture

Two new techniques that should enhance the production of biological crop protection agents will also be made available.

Final outcomes

  • Two new microbial biological control products against Tuta absoluta in tomatoes and fusarium in cereals have entered the registration process for commercial exploitation
  • One new technology is ready to successfully breed and improve insect-pathogenic nematodes as biological control product
  • Two new products with beneficial insects will be marketed as biological control agents
  • Several other new biological control products will be further developed in close cooperation between BIOCOMES partners

The approach of public private cooperation in the BIOCOMES project resulted in a perfect blend able to boost the development of new biological control products in just four years. All newly developed products have been tested in field trials in Northern Europe (Sweden, the Netherlands) and Southern Europe (Italy, Spain and Greece).

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The newly developed products can be used outside Europe, where ever the targeted crops are grown in zones with moderate or sub-tropical climates.