Review of factors influencing the success or failure of biocontrol:technical, industrial and socio-economic perspectives


Abstract: Although their role in plant health management is still quite modest, ever increasingexpectations are placed on biocontrol agents for the complementation or replacement of pesticideuse. Despite decades of research and more than 12,000 scientific papers on biological control ofplant diseases, little more than 14 microbe-based commercial products are presently registeredfor use against diseases in the European Union. Through a review of published scientificliterature, economic and market analyses and a survey of 675 farmers in 9 European countries,difficulties and conditions for success have been identified. The most salient features and futureoutlook are presented in terms of scientific/technical aspects, production costs and return oninvestment as well as (somewhat unexpected) factors deemed to be most influential on theevolution of the biocontrol market in the coming decades.

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