Plant disease control has become increasingly complex in recent years. Technification and intensification of agriculture has led to an increase in production to meet the world’s ever-increasing demand for food, but challenges have also arisen at the phytosanitary level. The relationship between the variables that determine the development of epiphytotic diseases is becoming increasingly complex and society is demanding healthy and environmentally sustainable agri-food production. Faced with this challenge, in-depth knowledge of residue-free active ingredients and disease triggers is vital for 21st century agriculture.
The evolution of plant diseases over time and space can be explained by the interaction between environmental variables and other variables related to the pathogen and the crop itself (host). Environmental conditions not conducive to disease development may prevent epiphytotic development even in the presence of a virulent pathogen and a susceptible host. Conversely, the same virulent strain of a pathogen may trigger a disease with varying severity depending on the resistance of a given crop, more or less genetically improved, and the environmental conditions prevailing. These environmental conditions are closely linked to meteorological variables (e.g. temperature, relative humidity, rainfall), but the farmer’s actions on the crop are also integrated into this group. Therefore, the agronomic management of the crop will influence the evolution of the disease.
Agronomic management of diseases
Fertilisation programmes, irrigation strategy, crop planting framework and the pruning system are some of the pruning system are some of the variables that are integrated in the group of environmental variables that are influenced by the farmer. environmental variables influenced by the farmer. Consideration of all of them will reduce the risk of disease development, but in many of disease development, but in many cases it is necessary to apply agricultural inputs designed to address the agricultural inputs designed to cope with diseases and reduce the damage caused below an economic threshold. below an economic threshold. Human health and environmental concerns encourage the design and development of residue-free products. and development of residue-free products that optimise the quality of the harvest, but farms must necessarily maintain farms must necessarily maintain their economic viability and enhance the quality of life on the farm. enhance the quality of life in the rural environment through effective fungicides, nematicides or bactericides. bactericides.
New era of products: Biocontrol range
The new products for sustainable disease control are characterised by a holistic approach, based on the synergy of their components. The final efficacy of the resulting product cannot be explained through the individual action of one of its components.
Thus, the active ingredients are used on the basis of a thorough knowledge of them and the result of their mixture, seeking complementary actions that optimise and enhance the results. Therefore, the new approach to biocontrol products is not based exclusively on their biocidal capacity. The activation of plant defence mechanisms, through a multitude of pathways and with different final results, is a very important part involved. The physiological improvement of the plant, through antioxidant formulations, is another way to enable the plant to cope with external biotic attacks.
In this way, tools of low toxicological load and natural origin are obtained that can be integrated into a calendar of agronomic actions without limiting crop production and, above all, increasing the quality of the harvest.