L’alternativa ai pesticidi e erbicidi: oli essenziali naturali

di Marco Mancini 57

lavanda

E’ possibile che gli oli essenziali estratti dalla lavanda possano essere utilizzati come erbicidi naturali per prevenire la crescita delle erbacce tra le colture? Una ricerca condotta in Italia e riportata sull’International Journal of Environment and Health suggerisce di sì.

Elena Sturchio dell’Istituto Nazionale di Salute e Sicurezza sul luogo di lavoro di Roma e i colleghi del Dipartimento di Malattie infettive e tropicali, e del Dipartimento di produzione vegetale, dell’Università Tuscia, a Viterbo, hanno studiato l’effetto inibitorio sulla crescita delle piante infestanti degli oli aromatici o le miscele dei fitofarmaci, da piante come la Lavandula officinalis, la comune lavanda.

Gli oli essenziali sono, come suggerisce il nome, l’essenza della pianta in termini di odore. Essi sono complesse miscele chimiche di prodotti naturali, che includono terpeni, alcoli, aldeidi e fenoli. La loro efficacia è dimostrata dal fatto che molti di questi prodotti sono presenti negli erbicidi e pesticidi.

Gli erbicidi e i pesticidi sintetici sono stati usati per decenni per proteggere dai parassiti, insetti, batteri, virus, funghi, e per eliminare le erbe infestanti. Tuttavia, queste sostanze sono tossiche e, in alcuni casi, si pensa anche cancerogene. Il loro uso scorretto o l’involontaria esposizione sono stati al centro di numerosi studi sulla salute umana, i cui risultati hanno portato a molteplici iniziative per trovare soluzioni alternative per il controllo dei parassiti e delle erbacce.

Altri ricercatori hanno studiato il potenziale di oli essenziali dalle piante di cannella e menta piperita per impedire la germinazione delle sementi di alcune specie di erbacce trovate nella regione del Mediterraneo. Sturchio e colleghi hanno studiato gli effetti dell’olio di lavanda sulla radice di una pianta in crescita, la Vicia faba, durante gli esperimenti. Studi di laboratorio hanno esaminato la tossicità genetica dell’olio essenziale sull’erbaccia. L’analisi ha evidenziato che l’olio può essere efficace anche a bassa concentrazione. Inoltre influisce sulla crescita dei microbi e funghi coinvolti nella crescita delle colture.

Il team ha concluso che:

Gli oli essenziali possono essere utili in quanto potenziali bioerbicidi come una strategia alternativa per le sostanze chimiche. L’uso di fitofarmaci permettono lo sviluppo più sostenibile dell’agricoltura a basso impatto ambientale. Ulteriori studi sono ora necessari per valutare l’uso di tali oli sul campo.

Il gruppo sottolinea che l’olio sarebbe più utile se usato prima della semina o prima del trapianto, in modo che l’olio essenziale non abbia effetti di tossicità sulla stessa coltura. Una bella alternativa all’inquinamento dei prodotti chimici che in passato hanno distrutto l’ambiente.

[Fonte: Sciencedaily]

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