An Alternative to Pesticides
Agricultural soils all around the globe demonstrate natural suppression of plant disease. In continuous monoculture of some agriculturally important crops, scientists have seen the development of natural suppression typically occurring after an outbreak of disease – because plants are able to recruit microbes to protect against pathogens. The capacity of plants to do this can be highly dependent on the plant biome and its interaction with the specific microbes that exist within it.
Two types of suppression systems are currently understood: specific suppression, which is mediated by the presence of particular microbes demonstrating suppressive activities on their own, and which can be transferred across different types of soil. This is basis for the development of biopesticides, such as Serenade.
The second system, general suppression, owes the capacity to suppress disease to the entire microbial population of the soil of a particular plant biome. General suppression is specific, therefore, to that particular plant and is not transferable to other soils.
We assess growers and farmers’ soils/growth substrate for modes of microbial disease suppression, and use that information to design programs of integrated pest management that supplement plant immunity to microbial and insect pests.