Biological Control – a boon to Farmers

Imagine a world where every organism is autotrophic and no food chain exists. The amount of carbon dioxide in the air would surpass the oxygen level; global issues would be at the peak or maybe, the pressure created would lead to mass destruction. Earth is such a well-planned system where every organism has an important role to play. Food chain exists in the smallest of this worlds biota, as small as pests of size 0.5mm!

Ever since the introduction of chemical fertilizers, the application of nitrogenous fertilizers has been a strong reason for the outburst of a range of pests which is widely being controlled by the use of pesticides. Over usage of these pesticides have made the pests resistant to the active compounds, creating a bigger problem. Also, the non-specificity of these pesticides makes the situation worse by disturbing the ecosystem farby the residues that affect humans.

A possible solution to this plight could be the introduction of Biological control. The term Biological Control seems very modern in the field of agriculture, but Charles Darwin became cognizant of the whole process in the early 19th century. It is also believed that early humans experienced antagonistic behavior of predatory insects over the common insect of interest.

What is Biological control?
In simple words, it is the exploitation of natural enemies to control the pest population. Natural enemies could be Insects, Fungus, Virus, Protozoa, Nematodes or Arthropods further classified into Parasites, Parasitoids, and Predators. These enemies affect the pests, eventually controlling their incidence. Biological control can be attained either by succoring the existing natural control or by augmentation which involves breeding.

So, is it possible to make agriculture sustainable by the termination of pesticide use and the adoption of biological control? Let’s discuss on my next blog.

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