Sustainable Plant and Animal Production

Looking for alternatives of chemical and pharmaceutical products is essential to face the challenges in plant and animal production.
Pesticides, fertiliser or antibiotics are widely used in agriculture with all negative consequences concerning environmental and health problems we are facing today.  

The genome of plants still bares millions of secrets concerning functional traits and their variability. Molecular methods such as association breeding studies are powerful to identify the genetic basis causing phenotypic variation. Thereby, agronomic performance of edible crops could be enhanced or characteristics of economic interest can be improved. Further, the control of diseases is critical for plant production and signal transduction plays an important role in plant defence.

At ILEE, we study elicitor molecules of biological origin that stimulate plant defences against both biotic and abiotic stresses. This method offers environmentally friendly alternatives to increase resistance of plants against pathogen attacks. A spin-off company was created pursuing this purpose - FytoFend S.A. 

In aquaculture, special emphasis is put on the search for alternatives to the use of antibiotics and chemicals through immuno-stimulation methods. Concerning fish nutrition, attention is directed towards the use of plant ingredients instead of fish meal and oil. Cultured freshwater species should be diversified and animal husbandry be optimized to improve fish welfare. Temperate (Eurasian perch, pikeperch, trout) as well as tropical species (striped catfish, African catfish, tilapia) are considered by research efforts.

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