Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Prototyping a knowledge-based system to identify botanical extracts for plant health in sub-Saharan Africa.

Abstract

Replacing synthetic pesticides and antimicrobials with plant-based extracts is a current alternative adopted by traditional and family farmers and many organic farming pioneers. A range of natural extracts are already being marketed for agricultural use, but many other plants are prepared and used empirically. A further range of plant species that could be effective in protecting different crops against pests and diseases in Africa could be culled from the large volume of knowledge available in the scientific literature. To meet this challenge, data on plant uses have been compiled in a knowledge base and a software prototype was developed to navigate this trove of information. The present paper introduces this so-called Knomana Knowledge-Based System, while providing outputs related to Spodoptera frugiperda and Tuta absoluta, two invasive insect species in Africa. In early October 2020, the knowledge base hosted data obtained from 342 documents. From these articles, 11,816 uses-experimental or applied by farmers-were identified in the plant health field. In total, 384 crop pest species are currently reported in the knowledge base, in addition to 1547 botanical species used for crop protection. Future prospects for applying this interdisciplinary output to applications under the One Health approach are presented.