In a statement, the FCUP points out that “there are more and more fungal diseases in fruits and vegetables”, often caused by climate change, which leads to “sharp drops in production” and “high levels of food waste”.

To avoid production breaks and waste, producers often use synthetic fungicides, but the effectiveness of these products “is increasingly reduced due to the resistance developed by pathogenic fungi”, also having a negative impact on human health and ecosystems.

With the aim of developing an “alternative” to these chemical pesticides, FCUP researchers are working on a “kind of vaccine” based on natural substances, within the scope of the “BFree: Biocontrol of Fruits and Vegetables” project.

Throughout the project, the researchers will develop “sustainable tools” to reduce the use of plant protection products that “have been detected more frequently in products and vegetables that reach the consumer”.