Potato cyst nematodes (PCN) are the most economically important pests of potato crops in the UK, and yet the synthetic control options used to manage these pests are limited and face an uncertain future. To ensure we continue to successfully produce potatoes in the UK, novel nematicidal strategies are being investigated, the most promising of which seems to be biofumigation. Biofumigation refers to the growing of glucosinolate rich crops such as Indian Mustard (Brassica juncea) or Oil Radish (Raphanus sativus) for maceration and incorporation into growing media as plant based pulp. The process involves the breakdown of intracellular glucosinolate (GSL) molecules to useful volatiles such as isothiocyanate (ITC) gases through a natural process of hydrolysis; a chemical reaction facilitated by water that results in a natural fumigant effect. Biofumigation has been found to be highly efficacious toward PCN and has achieved up to 95% mortality in some studies. Biofumigation strategies vary greatly in approach, however, and so there is a need to generate a standard and optimised operating procedure. This project will attempt to understand the factors affecting biofumigant maceration and incorporation so that the glucosinolate hydrolysis process can be optimised in-field for UK growers.
The specific details of this project are confidential
Frontier Agriculture Ltd.
Harper Adams University