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114R478 Biofumigation for Pest Control

Publication Date: 
1 August 2019
Author/Contact :
Peter Urwin

Contractor :
University of Leeds

Full Research Project Title: Establishing biofumigation as a sustainable replacement to pesticides for control of soil-borne pests and pathogens of potato and horticultural crops
Duration: March 2014 - September 2019


Soil-borne pests and pathogens, including many nematode and fungal species, are major constraints to profitable crop production in the UK.  New approaches are required that have broad efficacy and are suitable for use on a wide range of crops. Biofumigation involves the incorporation into soil of brassicaceous plants, which produce a range of secondary metabolites including glucosinolates, able to control pests and pathogens. However, inconsistencies in efficacy and a lack of detailed data on deployment under a range of agronomic situations threaten the widespread uptake of this technique for sustainable pest control. This project is cofunded by the Horticulture and Potatoes Initiative (HAPI).


University of Leeds, University of York, James Hutton Institute (JHI), HDC

Aims and objectives

Aim: To provide a fundamental understanding of the biochemistry of metabolic processes of brassica accessions underpinning effective biofumigation strategies.


a) Measure the glucosinolate profiles of selected biofumigant plants and determine how they alter over the course of plant development and in response to environmental factors.
b) Characterise novel compounds, other than glucosinolates, in plant accessions shown to be effective against pests and pathogens.
c) Establish optimal agronomic practices for the management of G. pallida using biofumigation.
d) Determine the effectiveness of biofumigation against trichodorids and longidorids on potato, carrot and soft fruit.
e) Establish the potential of biofumigation to control the fungal pathogen Rhizoctonia solani.
f) Analyse the impact of biofumigant crops on biotic aspects of the below ground food web.


The project will characterise the glucosinolate profiles of different biofumigant brassicas, how these vary with plant development stage and environmental factors. The work will involve laboratory, glasshouse and field studies. Work on PCN will be carried out in collaboration with the related project 114R476.

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