Effective methods of biofumigation: a meta-analysis

  • E Kathryn MorrisEmail author
  • Rachel Fletcher
  • Stavros D. Veresoglou
Regular Article



Biofumigation, the burying of Brassicaceaous plant tissues to suppress soil pests, is an increasingly practiced technique. However, the efficiency of biofumigation varies considerably and motivated our meta-analysis on the topic.


We meta-analyzed data from 46 publications where 934 experiments used 363 unique controls, in order to determine effectiveness of this practice compared with untreated controls, and to identify which aspects of treatment regimens were most important for ensuring success.


Biofumigation generally reduced pest abundance, reduced incidence of disease, and increased crop yield by 30% over values seen in untreated controls. Neither the plant part incorporated, nor the method used to incorporate it, were important predictors of success. Contrary to our expectations, we found no evidence that solarization was beneficial, and only treatment regimens without solarization were generally effective. While treatment regimens varied, the most effective treatment combination that we identified was the incorporation of young Eruca and Raphanus plants, with high glucosinolate concentrations, applied at high doses with short exposure times to suppress the nematode Globodera in Solanaceous plants. Each component of this regimen would likely increase the effectiveness of biofumigation efforts aimed at other soil pests.


Brassicaceae Fumigation Glucosinolate Isothiocyanate Pest suppression 






Comments from three anonymous reviewers substantially improved this manuscript.

Supplementary material

11104_2019_4352_MOESM1_ESM.docx (745 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 744 kb)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyXavier UniversityCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Institut für Biologie - Ökologie der PflanzenFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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