Herbicides, pesticides and many other alternative means are used for weed control, parasite control and getting rid of unwanted plants by leaving the desired crop relatively unharmed. They are safer (in forestry), faster and less expensive. However if not used properly, damage can be caused to plants especially if the level of dosage is really high by affecting soil properties, microorganisms and hosts. Or if the spray is used on the plants around the time the plants are sensitive to the herbicide. It is important to determine the effect of each new pesticide on the chemical and biological properties of soils before using it on the plants (Altman and Campbell 1977).
Nevertheless, there is a solution! The article on, “Natural alternatives to protect plants inspired by pharmaceutical research,” talks about a bacteria called Streptomyces, which is frequently found in natural environments of wild plants and crops and also generally used in human antibiotics, could be used as an environmentally friendly substitute to pesticides. Streptomyces is most commonly found in the higher soil and inside plant roots (Altman and Campbell 1977).
It has predominantly been used in antibiotics that treat serious infections such as tuberculosis. Scientists know that this microbe helps encourage the growth of plant roots and can control proliferation of plant pests in the soil. Additionally, Streptomyces can detoxify harmful mycotoxins, which are produced by certain fungi and can ruin large food yields from plants like grain or wheat. Even though this is an interesting and a new approach in alternatively using pesticides and other sprays, they still have to be tested to be made sure that this is safe to use. Releasing these antibiotics-producing strains in the environment should be avoided because they are also a source for antibiotics used in medicine. This will prevent bacteria, which can be harmful to humans and many animals from becoming adapting to these antibiotics (Cell Press 2016).
Altman J, Campbell C. 1977. Effect of herbicides on plant diseases. Phytopathol.
Cell Press. 2016. Natural alternatives to protect plants inspired by pharmaceutical research. ScienceDaily.