The Effects of a Locally Made Pineapple and Papaya Herbicide on Weeds and Soil Health
MetadataShow full item record
Herbicides are the predominant method used to control weeds in agricultural fields, and are also incorporated into sustainable weed control plans, such as Integrated Weed Management. There are rising concerns about these herbicides' safety for the workers applying them, the health of the agroecosystem to which they are applied, and on ecosystems beyond the agroecosystem. Herbicides are often relied upon as an integral part of weed control, but a lack of proper safety equipment, and high initial input costs can often make the application of herbicides risky for small-scale farmers. We investigated the effectiveness of both a pineapple-based herbicide and a papaya based herbicide that farmers in Northern Thailand could make themselves, using ingredients easily found in the local area on and off the farm. Using a visual rating scale, we found that both herbicides were equally effective, significantly damaging both broadleaf and grassy weeds. There were no significant changes in soil pH. A microbial proxy suggested that there was no difference in soil microorganism density, while serial dilutions generally showed a decline in CFU density, although the change was to varying degrees. Germination tests showed that herbicide treated soils took more time to reach 50% germination, but percent total germination results were mixed. Our work represents an important step in the creation of an inexpensive and accessible herbicide with few that farmers could make on their own for a reduced-risk input as part of an Integrated Weed Management plan.