EU-project BioNeedit develops new biological control agents against European fruit canker disease

Project

EU-project BioNeedit develops new biological control agents against European fruit canker disease

Neonectria ditissima is the causal agent of European fruit tree canker disease, commonly named as apple canker, one of the most devastating apple diseases in Europe. While chemical control is the essential component in the management of this disease, no suitable biocontrol products are commercially available against this disease. The BioNeedit project is therefore contributing in the development of a new biocontrol product.

Following the commitment of the European Union to prefer sustainable biological methods in integrated pest management strategies (Directive 2009/128/EC), BioNeedit contributes in the development of a new biocontrol product to control apple canker disease. To achieve this objective, potential antagonistic microorganisms against N. ditissima are being selected:

  • Based on the beneficial role of the microbiome found in N. ditissima infected and healthy tissues of apple trees,
  • Through a systematic stepwise antagonist screening program,
  • Testing the antagonist behaviour of the microorganisms against N. ditissima in a robust and cost-effective bioassay in planta and
  • Evaluating the up-scaled high-scale biomass production of the selected antagonists.

Commercial production, safety and registration

This multidisciplinary approach ensures that the selected microorganisms do not only have antagonistic properties, but also fulfil the basic criteria regarding commercial production, safety and registration of plant protection products, as well as the ecological needs for the applications on the field. This approach also overcomes major constrains in the development of a biocontrol product and reduces additional costs on its registration procedure.

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