As a young crop scientist, I found it would worth being part of the attendants in the crop biotic stresses oral presentations this morning, Tuesday 20th. And I do not regret it.
Most of the projects were from East-African Universities in collaboration with European or South-Americans Universities. They embraced applied research dealing with production, formulation and application as well as efficacy testing under field conditions, as well as basic research focusing on bio-control mechanisms studying molecular interactions between the BCAs and their prey.
Ah, how modern is to say that biological control with beneficial microorganisms (BCAs) can be used to fight plant diseases! Biological control indeed plays an important role, now and even more in the future, as many pesticides are being faced out and organic and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) production is encouraging aiming at improving sustainable plant production.
One of the young scientists, the Ph.D. student Mary Musyoki from Hohenheim University, Germany, gave a wonderful presentation on bio-control using Fusarium Oxysporum
-its impact on beneficial indigenous prokaryotes in a maize rhizosphere. “We experienced the success of bio-control agent in a greenhouse lab and we had to release it into the fields to evaluate further”, Musyoki said. However, she mentioned also that risk assessment analysis of having it as a biological control agent in soil ecosystem is vital, it's been proved and it’s now ready for registration.
Even though some restrictions to biological control exist, the researchers said this problem can only be overcome by better understanding the environmental parameters that are now limiting it.
With the use of biological control, future consequences might be anticipated and it would be possible to foresee sort of a decline concerning the use of chemicals.
Thus far, most approaches have involved the single antagonist concept, although a biological systems approach - the one that suppresses disease from several angles - might provide a better alternative. Similarly, the use of biological control agents could be used as one component of an integrated management program to achieve the best possible results. Hence, high yields and increased food security!