‘Friends with benefits’: bacteria, fungi, and viruses essential for improving sustainability in crop protection

December 6, 2021

In its Farm to Fork Strategy, the EU sets strict requirements for the use of chemical pesticides. Many products will be, or already are, prohibited which means that other solutions must be found for growers to protect their crops against diseases and pests. The recently published book ‘Microbial bioprotectants for plant disease management’ discusses the latest developments regarding biological crop protection using beneficial bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The book – with contributions from various authors and edited by researchers of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Koppert Biological Systems – provides a balanced picture of the possibilities and advantages, as well as the challenges, that use of biological crop protection entails.

In ‘Microbial bioprotectants for plant disease management’ international experts involved in research institutes and producers of plant protection products explain how beneficial micro-organisms can be used to combat pathogens as part of biological crop protection. The authors provide a broad insight into how products are discovered, developed, and implemented in practice.

Combining science and implementation

‘The book is particularly valuable because of its combined focus on science and application. Information on market perspectives and the authorization policy for biological products is essential for every researcher that develops new sustainable crop protection methods,’ explains Jürgen Köhl, senior researcher at WUR and one of the book’s editors.

Biological crop protection is better for both people and the environment and also helps to maintain and protect biodiversity. In addition, it is needed because of the stricter EU legislation. Market perspectives change as a result. But the complex and very time-consuming authorization procedure still hinders the application of biological products.

Source of knowledge and inspiration

‘In this book, experts from around the world describe numerous solutions found in nature to prevent and combat plant diseases, as well as examples of situations in which this is already happening,’ explains co-editor Willem Ravensberg of Koppert Biological Systems. ‘The book is a great source of knowledge and inspiration for researchers, product developers, policy-makers, and end-users and demonstrates that beneficial micro-organisms are essential for sustainable agriculture in the near future.’

The book is available – partly on an open access basis – at the publishing house Burleigh Dodds Science.