TERAPUR: An innovative solution for carrot producersGo back
After 20 years of research, Vilmorin-Mikado is offering an agroecological alternative for combating carrot cyst nematodes.
The cyst nematode (Herotodera carotae) is a parasite specific to carrots. It penetrates the root and diverts nutrients for its own benefit. Unable to feed themselves, the infected carrots develop slowly and are unmarketable. For the producer, the loss in yield can be as much as 90% on sandy soil. The parasite is present in all the major production areas, not only in France and most European countries, but also in Israel, India, in the northern United States and in Canada. The main product used until now to combat the cyst nematode, dichloropropene, was banned by the European Union in 2009. France stopped granting exemptions for its use in 2018.
Entire sector involved
Since 2002, Vilmorin-Mikado has been working to find an alternative solution as part of a collaborative project which initially involved the Carottes de France producers’ association, the INRAE [French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment], the CTIFL [Interprofessional Technical Centre for Fruit and Vegetables], and the Lower Normandy Vegetable and Fruit Investment Corporation (SILEBAN). Following a long selection process based on over 3,700 carrots, in 2011 Vilmorin-Mikado researchers isolated the resistant variety known as Terapur and initiated a series of tests jointly designed with partner producers, in order to confirm the carrot’s properties and determine the most appropriate growing process. Large-scale tests were carried out in the 2020 season preparatory to launch in 2021.
Terapur acts as a “trap crop” for the cysts and the larvae. The worm that penetrates its rootlets is unable to hijack the nutrient system for its own benefit. Unable to feed itself and develop, it fails to reproduce. Sown for a growing period of three months between two crops, Terapur must be mechanically destroyed before planting a commercial crop. This allows chemical products to be substituted with a plant-based solution that eliminates up to 80% of larvae and cysts in the soil, and is also a familiar crop requiring no specific investment by the producers. Terapur received the 2021 SIVAL gold award for varietal innovation.