UV - ROBOT - Innovative UV-robotics to improve existing IPM strategies and to benefit farmers, consumers and the environment

Project Summary

An important disease in many crops is mildew. Current horticultural practices rely on intensive pesticide use to counter it. However, the use of chemical crop protection results in spray residues on the harvested product and mildew infections cannot always be prevented. Scientific research showed that UV-C light has the potential to become a sustainable alternative for chemical mildew control. The application of UV-C still need to be optimized and automation is required to allow introduction in horticulture. UV-ROBOT will try to tackle these issues and has three main goals:

  • Develop robots for autonomous mildew control
  • Integrate UV-C in current IPM strategies
  • Implement the innovation by growers

In the course of the project we will develop, test and demonstrate cost-effective UV-C robots to control mildew in three types of crops:

  • Spherical: strawberry
  • Vertical: tomato and cucumber
  • Horizontal: lettuce and basil

Horticultural experts in Belgium and the UK will together find ways to incorporate UV-C in current IPM (Integrated Pest Management) strategies of each crop. Belgian expertise in automation and French expertise in data analysis will jointly develop innovative robots that can autonomously apply UV-C. On top, the co-creation of innovative sensors for automatic mildew monitoring by a UK partner specialized in e-nose development will reduce the farmers’ workload and ensure tight disease control.

At the end of the project the developed robots will be available for growers with a user-friendly interface and a crop specific implementation strategy. Demonstration across the NWE region and extensive communication during and after the project will inform growers to ensure innovation roll-out. We hereby aim to lower growers’ dependence on chemical crop protection and thereby reduce pesticide use and spray residues in horticulture across North-West Europe.

Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Proefcentrum Hoogstraten 71 Voort
stef.laurijssen@proefcentrum.be www.proefcentrum.be
Name Contact Name Email Country
Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt Lieve Wittemans lieve.wittemans@proefstation.be Belgium
Octinion Jan Anthonis janthonis@octinion.be Belgium
STC Research Foundation Lauren Branfield lauren.branfield@stc-nyorks.co.uk United Kingdom
CESI Chantal Hurard churard@cesi.fr France
Roboscientific Limited Stan Curtis stan@roboscientific.com United Kingdom
Comité d’Action Technique et Economique Marine Guerret marine.guerret@cate.bzh France
Comité Départemental de Développement Maraîche Brigitte Pelletier brigitte.pelletier@cddm.fr France
NIAB EMR Helen Cockerton helen.cockerton@emr.ac.uk United Kingdom


How to effectively control powdery mildew on cucumber plants

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Two weeks ago, the last UV-C treatment was given in the cucumber trials of the project. The last trial served as a demonstration and validation, focusing on the effectiveness of UV in treating powdery mildew. Two varieties were tested, Dee Viate (DV) and Sepalin (SP), both with 50 J/m² UV (UV) and without (CC). Additionally, objects were added for Dee Viate; one where UV was combined with a preventive biological treatment (BUV) and another where a reduced amount of UV was given on darker days (VUV). Read More


24/09/2022: International Mechanisation and Demonstration fair (BE) – The use of UV-C light in strawberry production (with demonstration in greenhouse)

, Research Centre Hoogstraten

During the International Mechanisation and Demonstration fair at Research Centre Hoogstraten we will discuss the use of UV-C light in strawberry production to control powdery mildew, but also other diseases and pests. We will take a deep dive into the most import results of the Interreg NWE UV-ROBOT project and will visit the trial in our greenhouse to see the robot in action. 24 September 2022; 10h00-17h00; Proefcentrum Hoogstraten, Voort 71, 2328 Meerle
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17-19/06/2019 : Greensys

, Angers, France

The International Symposium on Advanced Technologies and Management for Innovative Greenhouses takes this year place in Angers. More information about this event can be found on https://www.greensys2019.org/. Marieke Vervoort (PCH) will give a presentation about Autonomous application of UV-C as an alternative to fungicides for powdery mildew control in strawberry table top cultivations.
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10/01/2019:International Soft Fruit Conference - Autonomous UV-C application to control mildew in strawberry: optimization and compatibility with IPM

, 1931 Congrescentrum Brabanthallen Oude Engelenseweg 1 5222 AA ‘s-Hertogenbosch The Netherlands

The results of UV-C application on strawberry to supress mildew will be presented by Marieke Vervoort (researcher strawberry, research centre Hoogstraten (Belgium)) at the International Soft Fruit Conference on January 10 2019. The presentation is entitled "Autonomous UV-C application to control mildew in strawberry: optimization and compatibility with IPM". For more information or to subscribe for this event: http://www.softfruitconference.com/#programme2019
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