About the project – University of Copenhagen

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About the project

Duration: 2013-2016.

Regarding the aim on the project see the front page ('Home'). The project is a collaboration between University of Copenhagen (the Coordinator) and Partners in Burkina Faso, Tanzania and India (see the list of participants).

The project consists of 5 work packages (WP):

WP1 E. alba EFFECT

(WP leader: Associate Prof. Ole Søgaard Lund)

This work package aims to identify under which conditions seed treatment of E. alba is efficient. The parameters tested will be botanical dose, timing of treatment, seed quality and seed health. Potential synergism with the application of fungicide and an Indian developed bio-pesticide will also be adressed. In addition, it will be tested in vitro if seed treatment by E. alba efficiently inhibits seed-to-seedling transmission of major seed transmitted pathogens (Fusarium thapsinum, Curvularia lanata etc.). Yield of Sorghum and Millet in field experiments will be used to evaluate the effect of E. alba seed treatment. Results consolidated from this WP will be indicative of the mechanism involved in E. alba seed treatment.

WP2 E. alba SOURCES

(WP leader: Associate Prof. Ole Søgaard Lund)

This WP will compare biological activity of different sources of E. alba.  Naturally occurring E. alba in Burkina Faso and Tanzania will be compared to both natural and commercial sources of E. alba from India, where the plant is cultivated by medicinal herb industry. Comparison will be made with respect to efficiency in seed treatment (field performance, yield) and with respect to specific anti-fungal activity of extracts. In addition, the availability of natural E. alba as a weed in all three countries will be surveyed and the potential for local cultivation or commercial production of E. alba specifically for seed treatment purposes will be evaluated for all three countries.

WP3 CULTIVATION SYSTEMS

(WP leader: Associate Prof. Ole Søgaard Lund)

This WP aims to analyse the effect of E. alba extract as seed treatment under different farming systems for both Sorghum and Millet. Particularly the influence of, agro-ecological zone, plant density, the use of fertiliser and the application of foliar spray (fungicide) will be assessed dependent on the predominant farming system in each country. Baseline Yield for each farming system (no seed treatment) will also be analysed in relation to the effect of E. alba seed treatment. Seed treatment applying commercial fungicide will be included for comparison to treatment with E. alba extract where relevant. Farmer participation in field experiments, particularly in Burkina Faso, will be coordinated by the national extension service.

WP4 SAFETY

(WP leader: Prof. H.S. Prakash)

This WP will describe safety aspects of applying E. alba seed treatment at farm level based on existing literature for E. alba toxicology in general as a medical herb. Specifically, the record of E. alba as a medicinal herb in the three partner countries, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and India, will be documented and the need for toxicological tests in relation to the use of E. alba for seed treatment will be assessed. Subsequently, applications for deregulation of E. alba as a biopesticide for seed treatment will be filed to the governments of Burkina Faso, Tanzania and India including a comparison of toxicity of fungicides already recommended for seed treatment in the partner countries. A protocol for safe handling of Eclipta alba extract and relevant, approved fungicides for seed treatment at farm level will be made. 

WP5 KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

(WP leader: Associate Prof. Ole Søgaard Lund)

By structuring close interaction between researchers, extension service and farmers, this WP aims to shape research activities during the project to provide results of the highest level of relevance. At the end of the project, results obtained will be consolidated in a “best practice” protocol for applying seed treatment at farm level taking into account the different farming systems within and across countries. Specifically farmers in Burkina Faso acquainted with indigenous E. alba technology for seed treatment will participate in farm-testing of the applicability of the harnessed technology of using an aquaeous extract and soaking of seeds. Three project workshops involving senior extensionists from Burkina Faso, Tanzania and India are held in 2013, 2015 and 2016.