Conifers may offer protection to crop

NEW ENVIRONMENTALLY friendly, conifer-based pesticides and growth stimulators are being developed by anAnglo-Latvian DTI Eureka collaboration, reports Global Watch*.

Products stemming from the idea, the brainchild of Cumbria-based forestry consultancy Clark Mactavish and Latvian company Biolat, could boost organic crop yield and viability, it suggests.

There is said to be growing interest in plant extracts as alternatives to synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, especially in niche and organic markets. In this instance pine needles are being investigated through Bio<00AD>lat”s tree foliage processing plant, says CM”s Robert Webb.

The concept is to use the conifers’ natural defences to enhance and supplement those of crops, he says.

“Conifers have evolved various mechanisms to protect themselves from pests and fungal attack, and this technology transfers these to plants that haven”t done so.”

*See the Dec/Jan issue of the DTI Global Watch Service magazine.