WIT Press

The Use Of Composts In The Biological Control Of Pests: An Alternative To Chemical Pesticides


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WIT Press


J A Pascual, C Garcia, T Hernández, J L Moreno & M Ros


Traditional methods of controlling pests and diseases although there is always the possibility that chemical pesticides can provide highly effective pest control might be damaging to the environment. Compost or other organic matter added to soil has the potential to control many soil borne plant pathogens and they can be used in sustainable agriculture. The mechanisms of action of compost are not well defined, being a mix of mycoparasitism, antibiotic production and nutrient competition. Our research is focused on the potential action of compost made from municipal wastes (MW) in the biological control of pests. In several experiments, the addition of organic waste compost improved biological control against Pythium, furthermore raised the organic matter content of an arid soil. The addition of compost to soil might also have long-term effect on Pythium, reducing the number of application times. One of the most active compost fraction is the humic substances. Nowadays, composts cannot be used alone because they do not completely inhibit plant pathogens, it also is needed some pesticide application, but the use of these pesticides can be considerably reduced with the application of compost. However, they can be used in conjunction with pesticides, therefore harmful chemical pesticide effects on environment could be reduced. Premise for adding compost to soil Intensive agriculture often considers the soil as an inexhaustible resource. It is submitted to all types of practices in an attempt to obtain bigger and better crops and little attention is paid to its state at the end of the crop cycle. It is treated with chemical fertilisers and pesticides in order to increase yields regardless of