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REPCO Report Summary

Project ID: 501452
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Netherlands

Final Report Summary - REPCO (Replacement of Copper Fungicides in Organic Production of Grapevine and Apple in Europe)

The objective of REPCO was to contribute to the replacement of copper fungicides in organic agriculture by new measures for control of downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola) in grapevine and scab (Venturia inaequalis) in apple. Both major European organic crops strongly depend on copper fungicides. Permitted amounts will be reduced stepwise in the years ahead (Council Regulation (EEC) 2092/91) to avoid environmental risks. In European countries where copper fungicides are already out of use, production of organic apples suffers severe economic problems because of insufficient scab control.

Potentiators of resistance, organically based fungicides and biocontrol agents have been screened and evaluated in grapevine and apple. The risk of pathogen evolution during use of novel control measures has been estimated to enable the development of sustainable strategies. Effects of crop management practices in organic agriculture on overwintering of Venturia inaequalis were assessed. Novel disease control measures and knowledge have been integrated into organic management systems.

'Pipeline' products already under development elsewhere have been included and where necessary optimised in their use. Implementation by end-users and industries qualified for commercialisation of project findings has strongly been emphasised. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) as project partners ensured a strong link between end-users and research.

At the end of the project several compounds and biocontrol agents can be delivered to qualified industries for development of products for use in organic agriculture. Additionally, knowledge of integrated use of control measures can be delivered to organic growers.

During REPCO the following scientific achievements have been obtained:
- potential of more than 130 potentiators of resistance and fungicides for control of downy mildew assessed in screening experiments in grapevine;
- potential of more than 100 potentiators of resistance and fungicides for control of scab assessed in screening experiments in apple;
- potential of 40 potentiators of resistance and fungicides for control of downy mildew assessed in 14 field experiments in grapevine;
- potential of 40 potentiators of resistance and fungicides for control of scab assessed in 18 field experiments in apple;
- novel potentiators of resistance against Plasmopara viticola found in grapevine;
- novel use of several plant extracts found highly effective against Venturia inaequalis in apple;
- more than 200 candidate antagonists assessed for their potential to control apple scab;
- one novel antagonist selected with high potential effectivity against Venturia inaequalis and with suitability for commercial product development;
- stimulation of leaf degradation and reduction of Venturia inaequalis ascospore production by applications of vinasse demonstrated;
- selection pressure of control measures and forced evolution in Plasmopara viticola in grapevine known;
- complex microbial interaction in apple leaves characterised.

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