One of the Research Activities (RA 4.3) of the European Network for Durable Exploitation of crop protection strategies (ENDURE*) has brought together representatives of industry and scientists from several European countries with experience ranging from fundamental biology to applied field work on biological control against pests and diseases. The unique diversity of expertise and concerns allowed the group to set up very complementary approaches to tackle the issue of the factors of success of biocontrol.
The initial part of the work accomplished by this group consisted in a thorough review of scientific literature published on all types of biological control. Although it had to be focused on selected key European crops and their major pests and pathogens, this review is unique in the scope of the topics it covered and in the comprehensive inventories it allowed to gather on the potential of biocontrol and factors of success at field level.
In parallel with identifying knowledge gaps and key factors from published research, information was gathered on aspects linked to the production and commercialization of biocontrol agents.
These results, complemented by the views of experts in the field of biocontrol consulted at the occasion of meetings of IOBC-wprs, allowed the identification of majors gaps in knowledge and bottlenecks for the successful deployment of biocontrol and lead to the proposition of key issues for future work by the research community, the field of development and prospects for technological improvement by industry.