Targeted precision biocontrol and pollination enhancement in organic cropping systems
Organic berry and fruit production suffers heavily from the lack of effective disease and pest management tools, and from inadequate insect pollination at times. As a consequence, the expanding demand on organic berries cannot be filled today.
BICOPOLL expects to change this, and to significantly improve the yield and quality of organic fruit and berry production and thus, farm economics.
Bees will be used to:
1. target deliver biological control agents to the flowers of the target crops to provide control of problem diseases (or pests),
2. improve the pollination of organic horticultural crops.
BICOPOLL will provide a pan-European case study on protecting organic strawberry from its most important disease, the grey mould.
In addition, the project will improve the efficiency of the entomovector technology via innovative research on bee management, manipulation of bee behavior, components of the cropping system, and on the plant-pathogen-vector-antagonist -system, and will investigate possibilities of expanding the use of the concept into other organic berry and fruit growing systems.
This is a highly innovative approach to solving some of the most difficult disease and pest problems in organic berry and fruit production, offering solutions in areas where no solutions as yet exist. The entomovector approach represents the only significant breakthrough in sight for improving plant protection in organic cropping systems, particularly in high-value crops.
The main target groups of the BICOPOLL project are organic strawberry growers, other organic berry and fruit growers, as well as beekeepers and their organizations, to whom technology and knowledge transfer will be implemented during the project via direct contacts.
- Lower Saxony State Institute for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, Institute for Bee Research and Apiculture (LAVES), Germany
Estonian University of Life Sciences, Department of Plant Protection (EULS), Estonia
Ghent University, Department of Crop Protection (UGHE), Belgium
National Institute of Biology (NIB), Slovenia
Agricultural and Environment Center Association, Laboratory of Organic Agriculture (ITACAA), Italy
Erzincan Horticultural Research Institute and Ardahan University (EHRI-AU), Turkey
Funding: CORE Organic II Funding Bodies, being partners of the FP7 ERA-Net project CORE Organic II.