Description of practice

Biological disease control is the suppression of diseases caused by organisms by one or more other organisms (often referred to as natural enemies). This may involve disease-resistant plant varieties, or the purposeful utilization of introduced or resident living organisms to suppress the activities and populations plant pathogens.

Examples of how to use biological disease control Further information
(see Note below)

AMP81 01

Choosing disease-resistant varieties

Disease-resistant plants are chosen to eliminate the need for additional efforts to reduce losses caused by a specific disease. Resistant plants are developed using standard breeding procedures (selection and/or hybridization) or through genetic engineering.


»IRRI Rice Knowledge Bank

AMP81 02


Biofungicides (based on Trichoderma viride) are used for seed and soil treatment to suppress various diseases caused by fungal pathogens (e.g. Rhizoctonia, Pythium, Armillaria).


»Wikipedia - Trichoderma viride

AMP81 03

Antagonistic bacteria as nematicide

Pasteuria nishizawae (an obligate bacterial pathogen of the soybean cyst nematode) is added as a seed treatment causing immediate infection, stopping the nematode feeding and reproducing and ultimately killing it.


»Syngenta Seed

AMP81 04

Antibiotic suppression

Antibiotics are applied to the crop by spray, with ground equipment or added into an irrigation system. They are microbial toxins, some of which have been shown to be particularly effective at suppressing plant pathogens and the diseases they cause (e.g. Bacillus Amyloliquefaciens, Pseudomonas fluorescens).


»Journal of Plant Interactions - Ganeshan & Manoj Kumar

AMP81 05

Antagonistic bacteria outcompeting pathogenic ones

Non-pathogenic soil bacterium (Rhizobium rhizogenes, strain K1026) is applied by spraying or soaking. It colonizes wounded plant tissue and blocks infections by the predominant crown gall-causing pathogenic agrobacteria that infect nut trees (almonds, walnuts), stone fruit trees (peach, plum, apricot, cherry), roses, euonymus and many other horticultural crops.



AMP81 06

Top photo: Luuk Fleskens


Plants with a higher resistance to pest and diseases are produced by grafting seedlings onto resistant root stocks of other plants (e.g. courgette onto wild eggplant).


»WOCAT technology 1694

Note: Most of the Further information links are to a full description of the example in the WOCAT database. However sometimes the link may be to similar practices or a research paper. Occasionally the link is to a commercial product in which case it should be understood that this does not imply any endorsement of the product by iSQAPER.

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