Biological control agents for combating soil-borne pathogens in Egypt
Abstract: SEKEM is an Egyptian initiative and a Fair Trade company, where biologic dynamicagriculture has been practiced for more than 30 years. Medicine, which is produced fromecologically grown medicinal plants, was developed and is available worldwide. However, thecultivation of plants is more and more affected by soil-borne pathogens, which leads tosignificant yield losses. An environmentally friendly and sustainable solution of the problem isthe introduction of biological control agents (BCA). Through the introduction of BCAs, thevitality and the natural biodiversity of the soil can be restored. To develop a specific biocontrolstrategy for the SEKEM farms, microorganisms were isolated from rhizosphere and endorhiza ofmedicinal plants (Matricaria chamomilla, Calendula officinalis and Solanum distichum) as wellas from Egyptian soil, and were screened for their antagonistic potential towards soil-bornephytopathogens. Promising biocontrol strains were genotypically characterized and identified.