On Friday 9th of May of 2014, at the Science and Technology Park of the University of Girona, was held a "Technical Conference about Plant strengtheners and Biopesticides for sustainable agriculture", which consisted of two presentations and a panel discussion. The first presentation: "Strengtheners and Biopesticides: concepts, myths and realities" was imparted by PhD Emilio Montesinos, manager of the CIDSAV of the Universitat de Girona; the second one was "Beneficial Microorganisms" performed by PhD Ben Lugtenberg, Emeritus Professor of Plant Molecular Microbiology of the Institute of Plant Sciences (Leiden University, The Netherlands).
Montesinos exposed the main challenges of biopesticides and plant strengtheners in the field of basic and applied research, as well as the classic stages of development for a microbial biopesticide face.
By the other hand, PhD. Lugtenberg exposed a detailed review of the main interactions of Beneficial Microorganisms (exclusion, antibiosis, induction of natural defenses, ISR and SAR interaction "cell to cell"). The classification of these interactions, attributable to their mode of action, are needed to define in which niche of the market each of these organisms must be placed as active ingredients. Thus, the Beneficial Microorganisms can be grouped into 5 major groups according to their activity: biopesticides (phytosanitary action on a pest or pathogen), biofertilizers (effect on plant nutrition), bio-stimulants (activators of plant metabolism against abiotic stresses), rizoremediators (remove toxic elements from the environment) and microorganisms in the fruits ("edible microbiome" necessary for the health of people or "flavor enhancers").
Afterwards, the panel discussion "Milestones and challenges in the Registration of Plant Protection Products" joined Jordi Giné, Director of Plant Protection Department of Agriculture of the Government of Catalonia, as a representative of the administration; Emilio Montesinos, representing public and academic research; Teresa Sánchez, Director of Regulatory Affairs of Chemical Industries of Vallès, as representative of Chemical Industry; and Carolina Fernandez, Director of the R&D Department of Futureco Bioscience, representing the biotech industry.
The panel discussion resulted in a lively forum after a brief presentation on the regulation and marketing of biopesticides and plant strengtheners from the area of each speaker, which led to a debate about how it evolved over the years the regulation of these products, both at a national and European level. During a period of 7 years, the products considered in Spain as plant strengtheners were marketed on the norm APA/1470/2007. Truly, there were products that were marketed under this norm that although they were considered as plant strengtheners for cultivation, its main component and mode of action was clearly a phytosanitary or pesticide that should had been regularized following another legislation, both more complex and expensive but indeed less profitable for the company that registered it. During the debate, Mr. Giné said that it was envisaged that a new Royal Decree will enter into force in late June, in which it will be contemplated as other phytosanitary methods devices such as traps, pheromones, and beneficial insects, excluding plant strengthener products or bioestimulants.