In the media DCM PEA-02® wins Gold Bernard Blum Award 2023 for most innovative biocontrol product


Grobbendonk, 24 October 2023 – DCM, specialized in soil improvement, plant nutrition, plant resilience and biocontrol, is very proud to announce that the biocontrol product DCM PEA-02® has won the Gold Bernard Blum Award 2023. This award is presented annually to the most innovative biocontrol product at the well-known Annual Biocontrol Industry Meeting (ABIM) in Basel, Switzerland.

DCM PEA-02®, for which a European registration dossier has been submitted to the European Commission, will be the first bacteriophage-based biocontrol product for use in horticulture in the European Union after a positive evaluation and is a curative solution against the bacterial plant disease 'fire blight' in apple and pear trees.

DCM PEA-02®, an innovative and curative solution

DCM PEA-02® is a microbial, bacteriophage-based plant protection product against Erwinia amylovora, the bacterium that causes fire blight in apple and pear trees. Bacteriophages, or phages for short, are viruses that infect bacteria, in other words, they are natural enemies of bacteria. The mechanism of action of bacteriophages is curative, while most other plant protection products against fire blight have a preventive effect.

DCM PEA-02® contributes to sustainable agriculture

The bacteriophages in DCM PEA-02® can only infect Erwinia amylovora. Because of the very specific mode of action of DCM PEA-02®, there is no impact on humans, animals or the environment. Bacteriophages are ubiquitous in nature and have a short lifespan outside their host. Because of all these properties, it can be concluded that DCM PEA-02® is a very sustainable alternative for the control of the bacterial disease fire blight in apples and pears.

Fire blight in apple and pear orchards

Growers worldwide are facing fire blight caused by Erwinia amylovora. This bacterium can infect more than 200 plant species of the rose family (Rosacea), which includes apple and pear trees. Today, fire blight is observed in more than 50 countries worldwide, posing a serious threat to pome fruit production.

Fire blight symptoms on apple and pear trees are brown-black discoloration and shrivelling of blossoms, leaves, twigs and fruit. When trees are severely affected by the disease, they die and must be felled and burned, leading to huge economic losses for fruit growers.

Fire blight symptoms on leaves, twigs and fruits
Fire blight symptoms on leaves, twigs and fruits

European registration application for DCM PEA-02® is being processed

DCM PEA-02® was developed specifically for the European market and contains a phage mixture that is tailored to the European population of fire blight. For this purpose, an EU-wide collection of fire blight isolates was built and extensively genetically characterized using innovative molecular techniques. The product development was done by DCM, which for that purpose entered into an exclusive partnership with OmniLytics, an American biotechnology company considered a pioneer in the development and production of bacteriophage-based biocontrol products.

The European registration application is currently being processed. The biocontrol product DCM PEA-02® will be available on the European market as soon as the registration procedure has been completed.

For more information, please contact Sofie Peeters, Communications Manager at GroupDC;

About DCM and PHACT®

DCM is part of the family-owned company Group De Ceuster and has almost 50 years of experience in developing, producing and selling organo-mineral fertilisers. In addition, DCM offers a wide range of quality potting soils, soil improvers, covering materials, grass seeds and solutions for the prevention and treatment of plant diseases. DCM is strongly committed to research through its own Research & Development team that works closely together with Scientia Terrae - Group De Ceuster's research centre -, with various partners from the academic world as well as with field research centres. This makes DCM a pioneer in creating innovative solutions for consumers and professional end users. Thanks to our own subsidiaries in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Austria, but also through partnerships with distributors in many other countries, our quality is appreciated worldwide by professionals and garden enthusiasts. For more information, visit Within the PHACT® platform, DCM has developed its first plant protection product based on bacteriophages. More products are in the pipeline for the coming years. PHACT® refers to the platform’s technology of PHAge-based biocontrol, to ACTion (activity, efficacy), to the fact that phage-based biocontrol has become reality and to the sustainability pact that DCM wants to conclude with growers using the PHACT®-products. DCM PEA-02® fits into DCM's product line of virus-based biocontrol. In the same range, the tomato vaccine against Pepino mosaic virus (PMV®-01) was previously developed, a product that won the silver Bernard Blum Award in 2015.

Within the PHACT®-platform, DCM is developing the next generation of bacteriophage-based biocontrol solutions