A biological process using three different types of fungi to control common plant diseases and mite pests has been developed by researchers at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences in Rehovot.
Use of these fungi enables crops to overcome such plant diseases and pests without having to apply environmentally-polluting chemicals, said Abraham Sztejnberg, the Hebrew University’s Francis Ariowitsch Professor of Agriculture, a member of the research team. The fungi have been found to be effective in controlling plant mites (a pest relative of spiders) and powdery mildew diseases, both of which cause widespread damage to field crops, flowers and fruit trees.
Prof. Sztejnberg, born in Chile and a graduate of the Hebrew University, said billions of dollars are spent annually in developed countries for controlling mites and powdery mildews with chemical pesticides. Nevertheless, members of the two damage-causing groups have been able to develop resistance to these counter-measures, making it necessary to often change the pesticides – thus adding even more to the costs.
Jerry Barrach | Hebrew University
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