A large number of environmental factors, such as humidity and temperature, determine the effectiveness of microorganisms such as biological foliar killers. Seppe Top, engineer at Ghent University, wants to maximise the effectiveness of these micro-organisms with a new tool. He is developing this tool together with Bayer CropScience. Together they want to use more micro-organisms as biological control agents, reduce chemical crop protection and give the environment a boost.
Professor Kathy Steppe's laboratory recently developed a leaf clip. This allows the research team to determine the physical environment actually perceived by the leaf. This so-called microclimate of leaves is determined by relative humidity, temperature and leaf moisture, among other things. The leaf clip can easily be attached to leaves of all types of plants and measures in real time. Data is collected and transmitted wirelessly via a data logger.
Cooperation UGent - Bayer
In September 2021, Professor Kathy Steppe and Bayer CropScience started a joint collaboration to realise a new application of this leaf clip. In the project 'MicroScan, a leaf microsensing approach for sustainable crop production', Seppe Top will investigate how the leaf sensor can reliably predict favourable micro-meteorological conditions on the leaf. This would make it possible to maximise the effectiveness of micro-organisms as biological crop protection agents. In this way, Ghent University and Bayer CropScience hope to develop a tool for growers to reduce chemical crop protection and maximise the effectiveness and reliable use of biological crop protection agents. The results of this project will contribute significantly to the objectives of the 'From Farm To Fork' strategy of the European Commission.