Green peppers grown at Kibbutz Yitav
Green peppers grown at Kibbutz YitavIsrael news photo: Flash 90

There are many reasons for the terrific taste of Israel's fresh produce, all of which have contributed to the income won by the export of colorful,, tasty fruits and vegetables to European and even North American markets year round. 

The latest innovation by Israeli scientists at the Ministry of Agriculture may now add another reason for those who care about their health to consider importing fresh produce from the Jewish State -- or those who grow produce to consult with Israel about its technology.

Israeli scientists have just developed an environmentally-friendly pest control technology that uses edible oil to repel disease, insects, fungi and agricultural pests. Moreover, it has also been found to be effective in the early prevention of disease in plants, scientists say, making it useful in preventing future diseases and lesions before the plant is attacked.

The lead scientist in the study was Dr. Shmuel Gan-Mor of the Engineering Institute in the Agricultural Research Administration (Volcani) of the Ministry of Agriculture. Gan-Mor successfully produced an emulsion made of edible oil intended for spraying on crops of various kinds, as a replacement for chemical pesticides. Some of the crops that were seen to benefit from the treatment included tomatoes, zuccinis, peppers and others.

The raw material used in the project to produce the spray emulsion was actually a relatively cheap oil -- costing only about a dollar per liter. Moreover, high quantities were not required, according to the scientists involved in the study, must like those of pesticides, due to its potency.

Gan-Mor found that the emulsion was effective in combating diseases, insects, fungi and agricultural pests such as mites, Sternorrhyncha, powdery mildew and more. Moreover, the emulsion was also found to be effective in the early prevention of disease in plants, and therefore could be used to prevent future diseases and lesions before the plant is attacked.

Besides being a solution that is friendly to the environment and to man, the emulsion has many advantages compared to ordinary sprays, the Ministry noted in a statement. It keeps well at room temperature and does not require added preservatives, unlike other pesticides.

It is also extremely cost-effective due to its low price -- the oil came at a cost of about a dollar per liter -- and high quantities were not required due to the potency of the emulsion. "The success of its pest control effect lasts the whole season and insects do not develop resistance to the emulsion as is the case for other sprays," the Ministry noted. 

In addition, "The emulsion does not contain traces of pesticides, is safe for use and does not require 'waiting days' before harvesting."