Alternative methods

Biological methods

Green manures


The incorporation of big amounts of fresh organic matter stimulates the overall activity of soil microorganisms, which has a reducing effect on the survival of the soilborne pathogens.



The incorporation of mature compost enriches the soil with specific microorganisms (mainly Trichoderma species) which have a control effect on certain soilborne pathogens (mainly Phytophthora species).

Microbial antagonists


The soil, especially the rhizosphere (the soil surrounding the roots) can be enriched with microorganisms, that have an antagonistic effect against certain soilborne pathogens, by the addition of specific commercial preparations.

Biological-chemical methods



Plant species (e.g. mustard species), contain specific metabolites which are transformed during the degradation of the plants into toxic, volatile molecules. Once incorporated into the soil these molecules kill pathogens, parasites and weed seeds in the surrounding soil.

Mustard seedmeal fertilizers


After the oil extraction, the seedmeal of mustard species contains glucosinolates, which are transformed into toxic, volatile isothiocyanates after the addition of water. Therefore, mustard seed-meal containing fertilizers liberate after their incorporation in the soil not only nutrients (mainly N) but also kill pathogens, parasites and weed seeds in the soil.

Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD)

Source : Leendert Molendijk, Wageningen, Netherlands

The soil is covered with an airtight plastic film after the incorporation of big amounts of easily degradable organic matter. The decomposition of the organic matter by the soil microorganisms creates anaerobic conditions and the toxic substances (organic acids) are formed. Consequently, pathogens and parasites are killed.

Physical methods


Source : Miguel de Cara García, IFAPA, Spain

The soil is covered with a transparent plastic film. The solar radiation heats the soil below whereas the plastic film retains the generated heat. Thereby, the soil is heated at a degree that a part of the pathogens, parasites and weed seeds are killed.

Microwaves, hot air
The soil is heated by microwaves or hot air (800°C) to an extend that soilborne aggressors are killed.