Mustard, radish plants can act as natural pesticides

July 26th, 2008 - 2:02 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, July 26 (ANI): Researchers have revealed that brassica plants such as mustard, radish or rapeseed can act as natural pesticides for pests and pathogens in vegetable crops.

Using green manure of brassica plants- a technique called biofumigation- can help in managing soil-borne pests and weeds.

Brassica plants naturally release compounds that suppress pests and pathogens, principally isothiocyanates (ITCs), which most people would recognise as the hot flavour in mustard or horseradish, said CSIROs Dr John Kirkegaard, the conference convenor.

When ITCs are released in soil by green-manuring, soil-borne pests and pathogens can be suppressed and the yields of solanaceous vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants can be increased by up to 40 per cent in some cases.

The technique is relevant to developed countries seeking alternatives to banned synthetic pesticides such as methyl-bromide, as well as poor farmers in developing countries who often have few alternatives for controlling serious diseases in their crops, he said.

The technique is relevant to developed countries seeking alternatives to banned synthetic pesticides such as methyl-bromide, as well as poor farmers in developing countries who often have few alternatives for controlling serious diseases in their crops, Dr Kirkegaard says.

It can provide economic and social benefits, as improved crop yields lead to increased incomes, as well as a range of environmental and health benefits from a reduced reliance on fumigants and pesticides, he added.

The findings were presented at the Third International Biofumigation Symposium in Canberra from 21 25 July 2008. (ANI)

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