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Chemical aspects of ecology in relation to agriculture

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Title: Chemical aspects of ecology in relation to agriculture
Author: Martin, Hubert
Abstract: In 1950, the Canada Department of Agriculture established, on the campus of the University of Western Ontario, a laboratory whose main task is the study of the ecological consequences of the widespread and continued use, in agriculture, of chemicals of such biological activity that they serve for the control of the pests, diseases, and weeds of crops. In conjunction with that study, it was necessary to examine the available information on the biologically active chemicals already present in the crop environment and involved in the interplay of host plant, pest, pathogen, and weed. A knowledge of these chemicals is prerequisite to a study of the effects of the exotic chemical introduced into that environment as insecticide, fungicide, or herbicide. The science and practice of crop husbandry reduces ultimately to the proper utilization of natural resources for the protection of the crop from factors, biological or otherwise, that tend to depress yield. The interplay of the biological factors is frequently regarded as a competition and at one time it was held that competition between individual plants of the crop was solely for nutrient, light, and water. But many examples are now known of the production of biologically active diffusates from the roots of growing plants. The attack of most, if not all, fungal and bacterial pathogens involves the production of phytotoxins. The specificity so often shown by insects in their range of host plants is often susceptible to biochemical explanation. Moreover, soil fertility is the resultant of a complex interplay of soil fauna and microflora, and it is known that many soil organisms are capable of producing metabolic products of such intense biological activity that they are termed antibiotics. Antibiosis and symbiosis are therefore of basic importance in agriculture for they control the detail of the ecological community of the crop. The purpose of this report is to review and, as far as possible, classify and correlate information concerning the significance and nature of the chemical factors involved in this antibiosis and symbiosis. It is convenient to catalogue this information into chapters based on the main biological components of the crop environment—higher plants, insects, fungi, bacteria—in their intra? and inter?group relationships.
Date: 1957
Rights: In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights Holder: Queen's Printer, Ottawa, Canada

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