Brazilian researchers develop bioherbicide based on fungi

The Biotec Factory, a group based at the Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM), is developing three bioherbicides based on isolated microbial molecules produced by fungi.
The research works with the production of biomolecules from three microorganisms: Diaporthe sp., Phoma sp. and Fusarium sp., all of which are in the early stages of development and have been tested on a greenhouse environment.
Biotec Factory’s coordinator, Professor Marcio Mazutti claims the three bioherbicides present good potential for agriculture. “The bioherbicice from Diaporthe sp. presented good results in pre and post-emergence test plants control. In pre emergence, it inhibited 100 percent of seed germination,” he stated.
According to Mazutti, the bioherbicide from Fusarium sp. showed “high efficiency in pre and post-emergence test plants control. In addition, it exhibited good control rates of horseweed (post-emergence).”
Still, according to him, the highlight was the bioherbicide from Phoma sp., which presented the best results. The bioproduct, when applied in post-emergence, showed a suppressive effect on the growth of Amaranthus retroflexus, Bidens pilosa and Conyza canadensis for an application output of 300 l/ha. When applied on substrate, it inhibited approximately 85 percent germination of Bidens pilosa seeds.
“This product goes to a second phase, where its efficiency will be tested under field conditions. Field experiments will start on April, 2017,” Mazutti said.
“The tested products present low selectivity, affecting both weeds and crop. These are products that can be used as desiccants. The bioherbicide based on Phoma sp. shows great potential for pre-emergence application,” he explained.
“The application of biological molecules, rather than cells/mycelium/spores, has its main advantage as the decrease in dependence of suitable climatic conditions. Another advantage is the possibility to standardize the active ingredient concentration, consequently, having better uniformity in the results. Although the standard biological control products present a recommended dose, the control agents (microorganisms) show a lot of heterogeneity. For this reason, some products perform well in one year and decrease efficiency in other years. Using molecules, this effect would be minimized,” he said in conclusion.

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