Plant protection and growth stimulation by microorganisms: biotechnological applications of Bacilli in agriculture
Alejandro Pérez-García, Diego Romero, Antonio de Vicente
Departamento de Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea, Boulevard Louis Pateur-Campus Universitario de Teatinos s/n, 29071 Málaga, Spain.
The increasing demand for a steady, healthy food supply requires an efficient control of the major pests and plant diseases. Current management practices are based largely on the application of synthetic pesticides. The excessive use of agrochemicals has caused serious environmental and health problems. Therefore, there is a growing demand for new and safer methods to replace or at least supplement the existing control strategies. Biological control, that is, the use of natural antagonists to combat pests or plant diseases has emerged as a promising alternative to chemical pesticides. The Bacilli offer a number of advantages for their application in agricultural biotechnology. Several Bacillus-based products have been marketed as microbial pesticides, fungicides or fertilisers. Bacillus-based biopesticides are widely used in conventional agriculture, by contrast, implementation of Bacillus-based biofungicides and biofertilizers is still a pending issue.