Researchers, growers and Industry specialists from 22 countries will
share the latest research into the use of Brassica species, such as
mustard, radish, or rapeseed, to manage soil-borne pests and weeds - a
technique known as biofumigation.
"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," says CSIRO's 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," 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."
Using brassicas to manage soil-borne
pests is not new, but modern science is providing new insights and
techniques to enhance the reliability of the effect as part of an
integrated pest control strategy. Brassicas can also provide other
benefits to the soil as green manures.
are at the forefront of this area of research, in projects on tropical
vegetable production systems in north Queensland and the Philippines,
supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural
Research (ACIAR), and on temperate southern Australian vegetable
production, supported by Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) using
voluntary contributions from industry and matched funding from the
The Symposium will consist of three days
of scientific and Industry presentations designed to stimulate
discussions about the underpinning science, as well as the practical
application of biofumigation technology in Australia and worldwide.
Symposium is an excellent opportunity to draw together the latest
research on the subject from around the globe," Dr Kirkegaard says.
CSIRO. July 2008.