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Researcher proposes the use of endophytes to stimulate strawberry production

Chile Spanish

An innovative technology would allow to control diseases and pests through endophytic microorganisms in vegetables. The information was released in Chillán, Chile, in a seminar called “Soil health in the production of Frutillas in the Ñuble Region” organized by Corfo, the regional ministerial secretary of Agriculture and INIA Quilamapu. As indicated in the exhibition, the technology would allow for a vigorous and pesticide-free production, the INIA said.

"These are microorganisms, including fungi and bacteria, that grow inside the plant and provide certain benefits such as growth promotion, but also provide protection against pests and diseases," said Lorena Barra, the researcher in charge of the project. According to Barra, the results were obtained from a project developed in Maule, in which the advantages of using endophytes for the control of pests and diseases in vegetables were known.

The researcher said in her presentation that the developed technology could be extrapolated to strawberries, although she stressed that it is important, first, to know "if these same microorganisms are also endophytes of strawberries."

She added that it is important to develop an initiative for the use of endophytes in minor fruit trees in Ñuble, with the support of the regional government, which would allow not only to look for alternatives for soil diseases, but also for fungal diseases such as botrytis and for the action of aphids and thrips in strawberries. "If a management were done only based on endophytic microorganisms, we could have a crop free of pesticides, very healthy plants, very vigorous and with very good productivity," she said. "[This technology] is just being used in other parts of the world, such as in California, where diseases with endophytic fungi are already being controlled, and plant growth with them is being promoted," she added.