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Non-toxic and Cost-Effective Essential Oil-based Nematicide and Soil Delivery System (Nemasys)
Start date: Apr 1, 2009, End date: Sep 30, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Nematodes or roundworms are one of the most common soil-borne parasites that feed on plant roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seeds - constituting a major contributor to agricultural crop losses. Yield losses due to the parasitic affects of nematodes vary significantly for different crops, however, it is estimated that over €1 billion/year of crop yield is lost in the EU and the figure is speculated to between €10-20 billion/year world-wide. There are a number of existing solutions to prevent the huge losses due to nematode infestations, including; chemical nematicides (soil fumigants), solar heating/steaming and robust crop rotation. However, all of these solutions have significant problems such as very negative environmental impact, high-cost, geographically specific and they all kill nitrogen fixing bacteria. Nemasys proposes to develop a unique blend of naturally occurring essential oils (EO) as an alternative, cost-effective, soil treatment, which will be delivered by a novel time-release capsule. A unique EO formulation has been discovered by Plant Impact (SME Co-ordinator), which shows a unique synergistic behaviour, to give significantly improved (>30%) improvement in nematicide efficacy. Allowing lower quantities of EO to be used and overcoming their limiting factor of ‘taint’. The main work in the Nemasys will be to further investigate (and optimise) this effect, develop the delivery of the EOs to the soil and undertake the field-trials to allow future commercial funding to license the nematicide (in partnership with an LE distributor) under the pesticide safety directive.

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