Chemical dialogue as protective technology in sustainable crop protection (DialogProTec)

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Climate change brings new challenges for agriculture, also in our region on the Upper Rhine. For example, drought and heat are creating new disease patterns. But our plant world is not only suffering in the fields: neophytic weeds are displacing our native plants and trees in our towns and forests are being attacked by parasitic fungi. Some have immigrated as a result of globalisation, others have always been here. When their host suffers from climate stress, they turn from harmless roommates into vicious killers. We are looking for new ways to protect our plants: instead of poisoning harmful fungi and weeds with fungicides or herbicides, we want to use chemical communication. Nature has produced numerous chemical signals to control or infiltrate the interaction between organisms.
In order to identify such signals and make them usable, we have assembled a network of many disciplines in which plant sciences, fungal genetics, chip technology, organic chemistry and agricultural sciences work together. With the help of an “ecosystem on a chip” we will search natural biodiversity for new active ingredients to find new ways of protecting crops that are sustainable because they are rooted in biological evolution.
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