In view of global warming, escalation of extreme weather events (including extraordinary periods of drought or heavy rainfall), growing pest infestation, increasing worldwide populations, and depletion of arable agricultural land, growing a sufficient quantity of healthy food represents a critical challenge for agriculture.
Potatoes – one of the most important commercial crops in Germany – are particularly severely affected. Preconditions for optimal plant growth and the associated good yields include an adequate supply of nutrients, good soil conditions, and strong, well-rooted plants that are resistant to pests such as nematodes or wireworms.
Consequently, within the framework of a joint project, work is being carried out in a twofold manner: to develop pest management methods based on capsules or tuber treatment using endophytic entomopathogenic fungi (in potato production); and to elaborate seed treatment methods, e.g. based on nematophagic fungi (in catch crops). The developed formulas are then integrated with the potato and catch crop rotation cycle, so that it is possible to produce consistently healthy potatoes and achieve increased yields.