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Fungi for sustainable agriculture that take more or less time to reach the market

Example of micorrhizae, image of Fernando Santamaría González

Example of micorrhizae, image of Fernando Santamaría González

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On 3 and 4 October 2013 was held at the Institut d' Estudis Catalans in Barcelona the meeting of the Second Conference on Mycorrhizae research in Spain , which brought together nearly a hundred researchers in the field. Carolina Fernandez, Director of R & D and Futureco Bioscience Regulatory Affairs, was invited to the event to participate in one of the lectures and activities, the round table "How to articulate a system of quality control of the inoculum and mycorrhizal plant? Current status and prospects" along with Juan Luis Peñuelas, in which she addressed the differences in the registration of products with direct phytosanitary action as biopesticides based on entomopathogenic fungi, and indirectly as mycorrhizal symbiosis.

The term mycorrhizae describes the symbiosis between a fungus and the roots of a plant for mutual benefit. The fungus favors the absorption of plant nutrients, improves availability for both micronutrients same as the conditions that favor their productivity while protecting the plant from infections. For the moment, mycorrhizae are neither fertilizers nor pesticides, since they haven't got a direct impact on the ground as on the metabolism. Still, they are useful and are an example of support provided by nature that improves the productivity of certain crops susceptible to this type of symbiosis and an example of one of the application of environmental firendly agrobiotechnology.

Although the market of mycorrhizae is growing, it still applies and distributes on local environments as part of punctual solutions and is not as developed as the market of biopesticides based on fungus and bacteria, more developped for its application on Integrated Pest Management worldwide. Permission for commercialization is also different, and depends on the mode of action. If the mode of action against a pest is direct and also directly affects the environment, it requires an EU registration as a plant protection product. If it has an indirect mode of action instead (such as mycorrhizae which protect the plant indirectly), communication to a public consumption or agriculture administration is enough. Although research stages of mycorrhizae and biopesticides are similar, approval for commercialization process for integrated pest management is different.

Moreover, the record for the approval of pesticides and organic fertilizers and biopesticides based on entomopathogenic fungi as Isaria fumosoroseus fungal biopesticide and active ingredient of Futureco Bioscience NOFLY, used as an insecticide against whiteflies and other insect pests, has to pass a series of toxicological and expensive processes that have to be repeated for its commercialization in each country.

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