Seipasa, the Spanish company specialised in the development and formulation of biopesticides, biostimulants and fertilizers for agriculture and the Technical University of Valencia (UPV), through the Mediterranean Agroforestry Institute (IAM), are working on the development of a new bioherbicide.
The aim of this project is to develop an effective, sustainable alternative to synthetic herbicides. Its use would help reduce the environmental impact that chemical herbicides have and prevent resistances from occurring due to the overuse of current solutions.
According to Mercedes Verdeguer, a researcher at the IAM, the project has arisen from the need to provide farmers with new tools. "For a long time now, agriculture has been calling for new, more environment-friendly weed control solutions. In 2009 there was a change in European legislation aimed at the sustainable use of phytosanitary products and promoting integrated pest management strategies", Ms Verdeguer goes on to point out.
"Since then - the IAM researcher adds - active substances have been constantly disappearing, so that it has become more necessary than ever to develop new tools for integrated management".
Marta Muñoz, Seipasa's product specialist and a member of the IAM team, has stressed the importance of developing new alternatives in the light of the current situation, in which "resistances are causing increasingly difficult problems and farms have fewer and fewer active substances available because of the tightening of EU regulations".
Ms Muñoz also pointed to the increase in consumer awareness of zero-residue fruit and vegetables and underlined that this new bioherbicide is a step towards providing healthier foods.
Seipasa and the IAM are currently carrying out efficacy trials in controlled conditions to analyse the performance of this new product on different types of weeds, such as Erigeron bonariensis (another name for Conyza bonariensis), Amaranthus retroflexus and Avena fatua. Initial field results are positive in terms of the product's fast action, efficacy, and absence of residues in final production.
The most substantial advances in the project have recently been published in the scientific journals Agronomy and Molecules.
In addition to this project, Seipasa and the Technical University of Valencia are working together on other lines of research to generate new tools for integrated pest management.
About the IAM
The IAM is a research and educational institute attached to the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica y del Medio Natural (Higher Technical School of Agronomy and the Natural Environment) of the Technical University of Valencia. It covers the areas of protection and production of fruit, vegetable and ornamental plants and ecology in the Mediterranean area. The aim of the IAM is to provide an integrated service of research, teaching, facilities and assessment for the business fabric, academic community and public institutions in the Mediterranean environment.
Seipasa is a pioneering company in the formulation and development of treatments for natural crop protection, biostimulation and nutrition. For over 20 years the company has formulated and registered high technological value solutions that are applied in the most demanding agricultural systems in the world. Seipasa is established in more than 25 countries worldwide.