The problem

Limit parasites and weeds without resorting to products with a high environmental impact that use chemical principles of synthesis (plant protection products).

Problems of disinfection and soil disinfestation

The growing crop specialization and so-called monocultures continuously have considerable difficulty thriving due to the presence of animal and vegetable parasites that influence their development. The alternatives that have always been used are to change crops on the same soil. This practice is not always sufficient and it is almost never done on high-income crops, horticultural crops, flower-growing plant crops and nurseries, which are the basis of the economic and commercial development of entire regions. This is why their is a strong tendency to resort to sterilization with the most economical interventions possible, in order to help reduce the presence of terrestrial parasites to acceptable levels and to maintain fertility. For this purpose, the use of methyl bromide, a fumigant that once injected into the soil exerts its powerful biocide action, has been the pesticide of choice in the last twenty years. The treated soil is covered with a plastic sheet for about 20 days. The soil can only be cultivated after this period of time has passed. Thanks to the good sterilization results obtained at an acceptable cost, the use of methyl bromide was widespread throughout the world for both open field and greenhouse crops. Official estimates indicate consumption of 68,425 tons of this substance worldwide in 1996. Figures show that the amount of methyl bromide used in the crops all over the World (Minuto A., Pomè A., ML Gullino). Only recently has the use of methyl bromide has been put into question for reasons of a toxicological, hygienic-sanitary and environmental nature. In fact, this fumigant proved to be highly toxic for all aquatic organisms and for humans. It is also held responsible for the reduction of the ozone layer. Furthermore, the presence of inorganic bromide residue in soil and cultivated plants has also created problems for sales of agricultural products to certain countries. In 1997, at the 9th Montreal meeting, a protocol was drawn up in which the use of methyl bromide, considered responsible for the DESTRUCTION of the STRATOSFERIC OZONE LAYER, was banned starting in January 2005. As a consequence, the forthcoming methyl bromide ban created serious concerns for soil sterilization on the part of operators in the sector.

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