Since 2013, WUR together with private partners, NGOs and other institutes/universities joined forces to develop aquatic farming systems (domestication, cultivation, biorefinery and final end-products) for Azolla and Lemna species. Both species have very high annual productivities with an array of interesting chemicals for the food-, feed- and biobased industries. At present techniques/protocols to prevent especially insect plaques and diseases in aquatic farming systems are still lacking and are crucial in a viable economic value chain of AFS. In our preliminary experiments the following plaques were encountered: water lilly aphid (Rhopalosiphum nymphaeae), Azolla weevil (Stenopelmus rufinasus), Kroosvlinder (Cataclysta lemnata). SMEs involved in duckweed farming also reported Pythium attacks.
As for current agricultural systems, sustainable IPM (integrated pest management) is key to ensure sustainable and competitive AFS. In this project we aim at the development of IPM solutions for aquatic farming systems that meet those objectives and the eight principles of IPM as described by the European Directive.
The project starts with a thorough inventory of the most important pests and diseases in the aquatic farming system (Lemna and Azolla species). This inventory will be based on scientific literature, expert judgement and practical experience of farmers.
For each of the pests and diseases identified during the inventory, the basic IPM system will be outlined. This results in an overview of possible solutions and the gaps in our knowledge to develop proper prevention measures, detection, diagnostic and monitoring solutions, and decision support systems for each of these pests and diseases.