Can organic agriculture cope without copper for disease control?

Synthesis of the Collective Scientific Assessment Report

by Didier Andrivon (editorial coordination), Isabelle Savini (editorial coordination)
december 2019
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Copper is used to control various fungal and bacterial diseases, especially in organic farming where synthetic fungicides are prohibited. The use of copper is subject to increasing regulatory restrictions in Europe due to its adverse effects on the environment. This book synthesizes the results of INRA scientific expertise on ‘alternatives’ to copper.


The French version of this book, Peut-on se passer du cuivre en protection des cultures biologiques ?, is available on our website.

La version française de ce titre, Peut-on se passer du cuivre en protection des cultures biologiques ?, est disponible sur notre site.

Table of contents


Significant uses of copper, subject to increasing levels of regulation

Alternatives to the use of copper: considerable research prompting the need for a critical synthesis

Organization and intent of a Collective Scientific Expertise

Status and organization of this document

Chapter 1 - Background

Copper: properties and uses

Alternatives to copper: types and regulatory framework

Chapter 2 - Alternative methods to the use of copper

Natural biocidal preparations

Microbiological agents for biocontrol

Varietal resistance

Natural plant defense stimulators

Isotherapy, homeopathic and biodynamic preparations

Chapter 3 - Agronomic management of crop health risks

Prophylactic methods

Physical protection against infection

Management of the structure of crop plant and canopies


Chapter 4 - Introducing alternative levers and practices - into integrated protection systems

Evaluations and comparisons of cropping systems

Actors’ strategies and the availability and acceptability of innovations

Concluding thoughts

Chapter 5 - Overall conclusions

A considerable quantity of available information…

… but very unevenly divided between the areas of research and development

Individual, partially effective solutions…

… but still insufficiently integrated within integrated crop protection systems

Giving up copper: considerable room for improvement

Questions critical to the elimination of copper but insufficiently explored by current research

Lessons for and from “conventional” systems

Selected bibliography

Scientific articles

Technical documents


Annex. The literature corpus analyzed

Chronological distribution of the cited references

Types of references cited

Countries and institutions represented by publication authors

Source journals

Distribution of references across study themes

ESCo authors and editors

Scientific experts

Project management



More contents


Language(s): English

Publisher: Éditions Quae

Edition: 1st edition

Collection: Matière à débattre et décider

Published: 5 december 2019

Reference eBook [ePub]: 02728EPB

EAN13 eBook [ePub]: 9782759231560

Interior: Colour

Size: 2,4 Mo (ePub)


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