Edition 23, 2011
Biological pest control for gentle crop protection

Bio-protection against nutrient robbers

  • Invisible glutton: as soon as it has hatched from its egg in the soil, a young threadworm starts searching for food. In order to eat, the pests penetrate to the tips of the roots, ­sucking up the nutrients and thus interrupting the metabolic activities of the crop plants.
  • A newly developed biological agent is designed to protect crops against attack by root nematodes. In the greenhouse, Dr. Ralf Heupel and Dr. Wolfram Andersch (from left) check the effect of the new biological agent on cucumber seedlings.
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Invisible glutton: as soon as it has hatched from its egg in the soil, a young threadworm starts searching for food. In order to eat, the pests penetrate to the tips of the roots, ­sucking up the nutrients and thus interrupting the metabolic activities of the crop plants.

The roots of cotton, soy and corn plants are attractive sources of nutrients for pests. Voracious threadworms bore their way into the plants' nutrient pipelines, sucking up nutrients and interrupting the crops' metabolic activities. The result: reduced crop yields and billions of dollars’ worth of damage. Young plants are especially susceptible. Their tender roots are easy meal for the tiny pests.

Bacteria protect the roots
This is why researchers at Bayer CropScience have now developed a new defense system that protects the roots, in particular in the early growth phase. Specially optimized bacteria form a biological film around the seed. They protect the plant against the troublesome pests and even improve uptake of nutrients.

Read on to discover how this biological pest control method provides environmentally friendly protection and safeguards harvests: