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From microbial interactions to new-concept biopesticides and biofertilizers (INTERFUTURE)
Start date: Dec 1, 2016, End date: Nov 30, 2020 PROJECT  ONGOING 

The Directive 2009/128/EC sets rules in EU for the sustainable use of pesticides to reduce the risks and impacts of pesticide use on people's health and the environment. Among the listed actions there is the promotion of low pesticide-input management including non-chemical methods. In parallel several chemical active ingredients have been banned because of toxicity concerns. The result is that growers are left with few control tools against pests. On the other hand most of the available alternative control methods have several limitations, especially in term of efficacy. Several new ideas are not reaching the industry and are confined in the academic would. The concept behind this EIT is to explore new approaches to identify new cutting edge solutions for pest control based on new non classical approaches in strict collaboration with industrial partner and to train 10 highly skilled early stage researchers (ESR) through a doctoral programme that integrates 5 academic research with concept-driven product development in 5 EU companies with a strong curriculum in development and innovation within a large interdisciplinary environment. Microorganisms are often used so far as replacement of chemical active ingredients. The innovative aspect of this EID is to base the new pest control solutions on interactions of microorganisms with plants and insects rather than using them as plant protection products. Microorganisms’ unsurpassed inclination towards the association with eukaryotic macro-organisms determines traits and qualities in the host that harbours them. Microbial symbionts’ ability to profoundly transform their living habitat paves the way for unexplored outlooks in the ability to use microbial symbioses as sustainable and renewable tools to improve production and quality in agriculture. Microorganisms are key players in shaping several insect’s semiochemicals, in particular kairomones indicating a food source or oviposition site for some insect species.
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