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Could essential oils replace glyphosate?

By Vitisphere February 09, 2022
Could essential oils replace glyphosate?
Weeds begin to start showing signs of wilting a few hours after the essential oils are applied. They are completely eliminated after a second application, 7 to 10 days after the first. - crédit photo : Banton & Lauret
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he Belgian start-up Apeo – or Agronomical Plant Extracts & Essential Oils – is offering the promise of an alternative to glyphosate based on essential oils that are harmless to humans and the environment. Created in January 2021 after 10 years of research at the University of Liège, it has yielded very encouraging results on weed control.

For years we screened and sifted through thousands of commercially available, reasonably priced essential oils”, says Haissam Jijakli, the company’s co-founder. After greenhouse trials, three oils were blended and successfully field tested in 2018, 2019 and 2020, in Belgium, Southern France and the UK. The formula, which has been kept under wraps, was patented in December 2019. Apeo subsequently raised €6 million from public and private investors in Wallonia. The funding allowed it to increase its workforce and launch the approval process. “We have primarily targeted the 'home & garden' market, with low-concentration products. Since 2021, we have also been working on field crops. For vines, we are considering two formulae – one product for weeding at the beginning of the season or in the autumn, and a second for crown suckering”, explains Jijakli. Trials for approval as a viticulture product will begin this year with market release due to be rolled out in 2026, mainly in Europe and North America, “in the premium segment”.

 

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