Copper (Cu) and its based preparations have been used for over 200 years to control fungi and bacterial diseases in cultivated plants. Downy mildew caused by the obligate biotrophic oomycete Plasmopara viticola is one of the most relevant and recurrent diseases of grapevines. Recently, the use of Cu is being limited by some regulations because of its high impact at different levels (health and environmental problems). Due to its accumulation in soil, this metal causes a little controversy with the principles of sustainable production. Therefore, international legislation and initiatives have recently been arisen to start limiting its use, with the main goal to replace it. In this framework, some alternatives have been tested and others are recently being developed to replace, at least partially, the use of Cu in viticulture. Many of them, are being developed and tested under the scope of research and development EU funded projects. To not compromise sustainability targets in viticulture, results from these R&D projects need to be considered to assess the present risks of using Cu in viticulture and to better support establishing limits for its applications, considering soils vulnerability, while no sustainable alternatives are available in the market.
Part of the book: Grapes and Wine