Diagnose plant diseases on your smartphone and discover treatments, signal the arrival of the formidable giant Asian hornet… French Phytopathologist researchers have developed over the past 15 years websites and smartphone applications in the service of plant health. Apps that bring together scientific expertise and participatory science!
“We aggregate encyclopedic knowledge of agronomic experts to make them available to professionals and the public via the Internet and out mobile applications,” explained Dominique Blancard, a plant health researcher at INRAE (the French Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Research). An expert in plant diseases, since the dawn of the Internet age he has been looking for ways to spread his expertise to the largest possible audience. Goal achieved! Between 2,000 and 5,000 people visit his web portal e-phytia each day, and there have been more than 200,000 downloads of 23 phone apps developed by his team. The research has succeeded in getting experts in plant health to open a dialogue with professionals in the field.
In partnership with French technical institutes, his team has developed the Di@gnoplant suite of applications, which serve as both a diagnostic and advisory tools for professionals. These applications help to identify plant diseases by photo and provide the optimized methods of protections, particularly alternative methods promoted by the Ecophyto II plan (Plan implemented by the French Ministry for Agriculture and Food, with the objective of reducing the use of pesticides and other chemical products by half in the agricultural industry and in yards, gardens and other areas, by 2025).
All the applications allow for contributions to participatory science, for example through the application AGIIR, which creates a network of geotagged sentinels that are able to monitor crops and alert when pests are present in France.
Thanks to this reconnaissance module through images and technical information, the applications also can signal the arrival of a nest of giant Asian hornet, a formidable killer of bee colonies. To quickly identify outbreaks of bioagressors and monitor them are key actions in protecting plants.