Downy mildew, basil killer fungus: here are the solutions and possible remedies

    Downy mildew, basil killer fungus: here are the solutions and possible remedies

    In recent months, this year more than ever the killer basil mushroom has shaken the production of pesto in Liguria, one of the products of regional and national excellence. Over time, the fungus has proved increasingly resistant to products commonly used in agriculture. Now the experts are looking for solutions and remedies.



    He is about to end up run over, his mother saves him



    In recent months, this year more than ever, the basil killer mushroom has shaken the production of pesto in Liguria, one of the products of regional and national excellence. Over time, the fungus has proved increasingly resistant to products commonly used in agriculture. Now the experts are looking for solutions and remedies.

    A technical meeting with farmers. He intervened Angelo Garibaldi, President of the Competence Center of the University of Turin, for 50 years engaged in the fight against plant diseases.

    The disease that causes basil's death came to Europe in 2003. It is caused by the Downy mildew belbahrii, a devastating fungus that is seriously endangering the production of basil and the sauce known all over the world, with economic repercussions for both farmers and the food industry.

    READ also: Downy mildew: the killer parasite that threatens basil

    Recently the Liguria Region forwarded to the Ministry of Health a formal request for the employment of new agro-drugs with which to fight the disease. The issue is much debated, as the ideal solution would be not to resort to synthetic products, but to alternative methods to agro-pharmaceuticals, more sustainable for the environment.

    According to Angelo Garibaldi, agro-pharmaceuticals will only be part of one defense strategy wider, since unfortunately there is no magic wand to defeat the killer mushroom. Why reduce the use of agro-drugs? The reason is very simple: their use favors the emergence of resistant strains of the parasite.

    Thus farmers are forced to use ever more potent pesticides or fungicides, while science is committed to developing ever more specific products. With the fear that i residue of these products may result harmful to consumers.



    La first solution hypothesized concerns the authorization of the use of some existing agro-drugs, with treatments far from the harvesting periods. A solution deemed impractical, since the basil is harvested in a scaled way and then immediately transplanted.

    La second solution it is certainly more sustainable. It's about using essential oils in the form of vapor, such as thyme and savory, together with fertilization with products based on phosphorus, which research has shown may provide additional protection. Then it will be necessary to avoid irrigating with rain. Localized irrigation will be needed whenever possible.

    The final remedy, according to Agroinnova would therefore be in the applied research, which can minimize the impact on the final consumer of the use of agro-pharmaceuticals. For example, a European project, called TESTA, is now underway, focusing on the development of methods for treating seeds with low environmental impact, to avoid the transmission of diseases through the use of infected seeds.

    "It will be one still a long fight the one against basil blight, but only with sustainable technological responses for the environment and with the collaboration of good local technicians such as Giorgio Bozzano and Pietro Pensa who work in the area with seed companies, we will be able to better safeguard both basil crops, both consumers ”- concluded Angelo Garibaldi. The hope is that a way will be found to combat Downy mildew without using products that are harmful to the environment and health.



    Marta Albè

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