CBC's research on bacteria as biological control agents

Last changed: 22 August 2018

Bacteria are used with great success as biological pesticides. The biological pesticides Cedomon® and Cerall® has, since their introduction in the late 90ies, been used on ca 4.5 million hectares of agricultural land and has replaced about 1.6 million liters of synthetic fungicides in cereal production.

Seed dressing with bacteria

Pests that attack seed, for example harmful fungi, are a major economic problem in Sweden and an important risk factor for food security worldwide. Seed dressing is done traditionally with chemical pesticides and is a common practice to limit infestation of seed-borne pests. As regulations on chemical pesticides will become stricter, alternative pest management methods becomes increasingly important. Research from SLU has contributed to new biological methods for seed dressing with bacteria originating from plant roots.

How peas can be protected by biological control is investigated at a large-scale trial in Lönstorp. Photo: Margareta Hökeberg.

Bacterium became product

At SLU, new methods have been developed obtain the best bacterial candidates for biological control. The bacterial isolate Pseudomonas chlororaphis isolates MA 342, was found to provide stable control effects against several diseases. This isolate provided the basis for the biological control products Cedomon® och Cerall®. The research was done in cooperation with Lantmännen, which has commercialized and further developed the results within the company Lantmännen BioAgri. The products are available in 16 countries in Europe and contribute to a reduced use of chemical pesticides.

New bacterial strains are investigated

In order to increase the farmers' access to biological pesticides and thereby enable reduced use of chemical pesticides; we are investigating the properties of new strains of bacteria. In addition, we are also investigating growth-stimulating products and are developing new methods to make biological control more effective.

Selected publications

These are some of the publications that has been important for the development of bacteria to biological contol agents.


Hökeberg, M, Gerhardson, B. & Johnsson, L. 1997. Biological control of cereal seed-borne diseases by seed bacterization with greenhouse-selected bacteria. European Journal of Plant Pathology, 103 (1), 25-33.

Knudsen, IMB, Hockenhull, J, Funck Jensen, D, Gerhardson, B, Hökeberg, M, Tahvonen, R, Teperi, E, Sundheim, L. & Henriksen, B. 1997. Selection for biological control agents for controlling soil- and seedborne diseases in the field. Europen J. of Plant Pathol., 103, 775-784.

Johnsson, L, Hökeberg, M. & Gerhardson, B. 1998. Performance of the Pseudomonas chlororaphis biocontrol agent MA 342 against cereal seed-borne diseases in field experiments. European Journal of Plant Pathology, 104 (7), 701-711.

Hökeberg, M. Seed bacterization for control of fungal seed-borne diseases in cereals. Doctoral thesis, SLU. Agraria 115, 1998.

Tombolini, R, van der Gaag, DJ, Gerhardson, B & Jansson, JK. 1999. Colonization pattern of the biocontrol strain Pseudomonas chlororaphis MA 342 on barley seeds visualized by using Green Flourescent Protein. Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 65 (8), 3674-3680.


ingvar.sundh@slu.se, 018-673208