Copyright 2019 Accademia dei Georgofili
Agriculture and market are increasingly oriented towards a more sustainable and ecofriendly control of plant diseases, that still mainly relies on copper-based compounds. Starting from the 1st January 2019, the new EU Regulation 2018/1981 is in force, the average annual threshold for copper usage in plant protection is now 4 kg/ha or 28 kg/ ha/7 years. In the last years, the trend towards the copper reduction or substitution in agriculture has induced many companies to focus on R&D of innovative plant protection products (PPPs). While several promising aternative to copper fungicides are already available, still now copper is essential in organic agriculture against bacterial plant pathogens, which are definitely more challenging to be controlled. Several putative solutions have been proposed, including botanical extracts also from circular economy processes, and biological control agents (BCAs). To this concern, the interpretative conflict up to now existing between PPPs and biostimulants/resistance inducers has been definitely resolved by the new EU Regulation on this topic. The clear-cut identification of the functional category is important to give science-supported answers to orientate an authentic and really sustainable agroeconomy.