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“SUGAR INSTEAD OF COPPER” – the first experimental year has finished

We already reported on our plant protection experiment aiming at replacing copper with an agent containing tagatose when protecting grapes from downy mildew.

As a heavy metal, copper accumulates in the soil, creating unfavourable conditions for soil microbes if applied in high doses. Also, copper mining causes severe environmental damage, so it is important to find alternative ways to protection plants in organic farming. For example, tagatose is a sugar derivative, and although it may seem surprising, various sugars are bactericidal and fungicidal, meaning that they can kill bacteria and fungi. Tagatose is the derivative of lactose, and although it is quite rare in nature, it is being included in more and more international patents due to its natural plant protection impact.

The last plant health analysis of this year was carried out by Máté Varga, doctor of plant health, in an experiment located at the Tagyon hill in the Martinus winery. Although it is only the end of the first year, according to the data that has been collected, tagatose is just as effective as traditional copper based treatments. Although when introducing new plant protection agents it is normal to expect them to be more effective than the chemicals that are already available, in this case the same level of protection is very promising, and suggests that tagatose may be suitable for replacing copper when protecting grapes from downy mildew. Of course, it is too early to draw far-reaching conclusions from the results of the first experimental year, but we will continue next spring.

Replacement of Contentious Inputs in Organic Farming Systems’ (RELACS) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773431. The information contained in this communication only reflects the author’s view.



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