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.