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Fungi as an Alternative to Agrochemicals to Control Plant Diseases

  • Alexander O. EmogheneEmail author
  • Anthony E. Futughe
Chapter
Part of the Fungal Biology book series (FUNGBIO)

Abstract

Majority of the populations living in developing countries are actively engaged in agriculture with a good percentage being small scale farmers. The turn out of their farm produce is low owing to crops crippling diseases. Varieties of causal agents such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes amongst others have been implicated in plant diseases with an enormous reduction in crop yields and storage. Farmers still rely heavily on agrochemicals to prevent and/or control these crops threatening diseases. Despite the high effectiveness and ease of utilization, agrochemicals may not be the most desirable means of disease control for several important reasons. Agrochemicals application is one of the causes of water pollution, generating persistent organic pollutants and sources of soil contamination, pesticide residue presence on food, contributing to additional social and economic problems. They are heavily regulated and vary from country to country in their use and registration. In addition, they are expensive, may induce pathogen resistance, cause stunting and chlorosis of young seedlings. Agrochemicals poisoning incidence may occur as a result of misuse, storage near consumable food stuff or farm produce and the use of agrochemical containers for domestic purposes. To reduce ecological impact and financial cost of plant disease control with agrochemicals, antagonistic microorganisms especially fungi have been investigated in depth and considered as an attractive alternative to agrochemicals in the control of plant diseases. Fungi-based biofungicides have yielded successful, consistent, and long lasting results. The mechanisms of fungal biological control and examples of the use of fungi as alternative to agrochemicals are emphasized.

Keywords

Agrochemicals Fungi Causal agents Diseases Farmers Antagonists Mechanisms Alternative Biofungicides 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Life SciencesUniversity of BeninBenin CityNigeria
  2. 2.Department of Natural Sciences, School of Science and TechnologyMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK

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