Multitrophic interactions in soil

Convenor

STEINBERG Christian

Liaison-Officer ELAD Yigal

Structure

This is a multidisciplinary group of over 70 scientists coming from over 15 countries. We meet every two years to discuss new developments integrated control of soil-borne diseases, nematodes and insects. Stress is placed having scientist representing a wide range of disciplines at the meetings so that a holistic view of the problems affecting the plant root system can be discussed. The working group was established in 1998 and works in close collaboration with the working group - Integrated control of fungal and bacterial plant pathogens.

Aim

To generate a more interdisciplinary approach to looking at soil health and integrated management of soil-borne pests and diseases and to bring scientists from a wide spectrum of disciplines together to generate innovate strategies for the future.

Activities

Coordination of research activities is accomplished at biennial meetings of the group. The main research thrusts and interests are:

  • Estimation, isolation and identification of microbial agents for pest and disease control
  • improvement of bioassay tests for determination of control efficacy
  • technology designed to increase efficacy
  • biology and mode-of-action studies
  • mass rearing and formulation development
  • risk assessment
  • understanding the holistic nature of soil suppressiveness
  • management of the antagonistic potential in soils
  • solutions to industrial production of antagonists
  • integration of biological control agents into integrated management

The meetings are attended by a broad spectrum of scientists representing the fields of mycology, bacteriology, nematology and entomology along with scientist interested in soil organic matter and soil ecology. Industrial partners have been active at all the meetings. The meetings are also a platform for the development of collaborative projects for submission to the EU and with other funding agencies.

Achievements

The working group has held three meetings in 1999 and 2003 in Bonn - Bad Honnef, Germany and in 2005 in Wageningen, The Netherlands. The meetings attracted a very large group of scientist interested in the multitrophic interactions existing in the soil ecosystem as it impacts plant health. The number of scientist attending has ranged from 64 to 110 in the past and attendance is expected to remain high due to the importance of soil-borne pests and diseases and the common lack of alternative control measures. In addition the holistic nature of the meeting is a learning experience for all those attending.

The papers presented at the meetings of the subgroups are regularly published as IOBC-WPRS Bulletins.

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