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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » WHGQ » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321205

Research Project: Biology and Biological Control of Root Diseases of Wheat, Barley and Biofuel Brassicas

Location: Wheat Health, Genetics, and Quality Research

Title: Phytosanitation and the development of transgenic biocontrol agents

Author
item Weller, David
item Thomashow, Linda

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/16/2014
Publication Date: 1/22/2015
Citation: Weller, D.M., Thomashow, L.S. 2015. Phytosanitation and the development of transgenic biocontrol agents. Book Chapter. pp 35-43.

Interpretive Summary: Plants must constantly cope with attacks by soilborne and foliar pathogens, insects and other pests. Biological control is the application of beneficial organisms to inhibit or control a pathogen, weed or insect pests. Biocontrol agents can be highly effective but they also can perform inconsistently from one year or field to the next. Also, biocontrol agents typically are narrower in their spectrum of activity than chemical pesticides. Therefore, growers have been reluctant to switch from synthetic chemical pesticides to biocontrol agents to control plant pests. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the topics of the construction, activity and use of genetically-engineered biocontrol agents to improve the consistency or level of disease control and to broaden the spectrum of activity.

Technical Abstract: By the year 2050, there will be at least 9 billion people on Earth to feed using the same amount or less land and water than is available today. Currently, about one-third of all potential agricultural commodities grown worldwide are lost to diseases, weeds, insects and other pests. Farmers will be challenged to produce more, but to do so using sustainable cropping practices and less fertilizer and pesticides. Biological control is an integral part of sustainable agriculture. This chapter provides an overview of the topics of the construction, activity and use of transgenic biocontrol agents (BCAs) and their future potential in 21st century agriculture.