Research Institute for Organic Farming FiBL

Frick, Switzerland

Research Institute for Organic Farming FiBL

Frick, Switzerland
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Lammerts Van Bueren E.T.,Wageningen University | Lammerts Van Bueren E.T.,Louis Bolk Institute | Jones S.S.,Washington State University | Tamm L.,Research Institute for Organic Farming FiBL | And 4 more authors.
NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences | Year: 2011

It is estimated that more than 95% of organic production is based on crop varieties that were bred for the conventional high-input sector. Recent studies have shown that such varieties lack important traits required under organic and low-input production conditions. This is primarily due to selection in conventional breeding programmes being carried out in the background of high inorganic fertilizer and crop protection inputs. Also, some of the traits (e.g., semi-dwarf genes) that were introduced to address problems like lodging in cereals in high-input systems were shown to have negative side-effects (reduced resistance to diseases such as Septoria, lower protein content and poorer nutrient-use efficiency) on the performance of varieties under organic and low-input agronomic conditions. This review paper, using wheat, tomato and broccoli as examples, describes (1) the main traits required under low-input conditions, (2) current breeding programmes for organic, low-input agriculture, (3) currently available breeding and/or selection approaches, and (4) the benefits and potential negative side-effects of different breeding methodologies and their relative acceptability under organic farming principles. © 2010 Royal Netherlands Society for Agricultural Sciences.


Tamm L.,Research Institute for Organic Farming FiBL | Thurig B.,Research Institute for Organic Farming FiBL | Fliessbach A.,Research Institute for Organic Farming FiBL | Goltlieb A.E.,Bar - Ilan University | And 2 more authors.
NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences | Year: 2011

Air-borne foliar diseases as well as soil-borne diseases can cause substantial losses in agricultural production systems. One of the strategies to overcome production losses caused by plant diseases is the targeted use of disease defence mechanisms that are inherent to plants. In this paper, the potential to enhance the plant's health status either by inducing resistance through optimized soil management techniques or by foliar application of inducers of resistance is explored on the basis of a literature review and results from laboratory and field experiments. In our studies, the focus was on recent research about the use of dl-β-aminobutyric acid (BABA) and an aqueous extract of Penicillium chrysogenum (Pen) as elicitors. We conclude that BABA as well as Pen can contribute to disease control strategies. The use of soil fertility management techniques to reduce diseases was explored in recent research about the impact of short- and long-term management practices on soil suppressiveness to air-borne and soil-borne diseases, with the aim to elucidate the influence of soil properties and to quantify the relative importance of site-specific vs cultivation-mediated soil properties. The results indicate that site-specific factors, which cannot be influenced by agronomic practices have a greater impact than cultivation-specific effects within the same site. Nevertheless, short- and long-term management strategies were shown to have the potential for influencing soil suppressiveness to certain diseases such as Rhizoctonia solani. © 2011 Royal Netherlands Society for Agricultural Sciences.


Kretzschmar U.,Research Institute for Organic Farming FiBL | Schmid O.,Research Institute for Organic Farming FiBL
NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences | Year: 2011

Organic food-processing standards generally prohibit the use of synthetic chemicals, many preservatives and other food additives that are widely used in the processing of conventional foods. However, there are frequent discussions about the underlying rationales, principles and criteria used to allow some processing methods and additives but other ones not. Consumers of low-input and organic food have specific expectations regarding quality characteristics of processed food. Organic processed products should therefore be sustainable and fulfil consumers' expectations as much as possible. Our study reviewed current approaches and concepts in organic food processing, based on the results of a literature survey and a two-step Delphi expert survey focusing on the most important and currently discussed aspects regarding organic food processing. In the first round, 250 experts in 13 European countries were involved who were asked to respond to a standardized questionnaire. Hundred and twenty experts answered in the first round and they were approached in the second round. Of these, 83 experts answered in the second round. The results show that there is an important need for clear principles and related criteria for the evaluation of additives and processing methods. In the minds of consumers, additional principles are present when compared with the present rules. The gap between consumer expectations and the rules at the time of the survey (Regulation EEC 2092/91, IFOAM Basic Standards, Codex Alimentarius Guidelines) can cause problems. So it is important to build a solid link between regulations and consumer perceptions. The principle of carefulness/careful processing might be helpful for the communication between manufactures/retailers and consumers. Generally, other means instead of new governmental rules are recommended (e.g., a code of practice). © 2011 Royal Netherlands Society for Agricultural Sciences.

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