Regarding “Strawberries Hang in the Balance” (C&EN, June 8, page 18), rather than chemicals, let’s try a different approach such as microwaving soil prior to planting.
This is not a new concept. Thirty or so years ago, someone invented man-operated farm equipment that used microwaves to sterilize the soil. At that time, the primary interest was to destroy weed seeds. I would guess that the microwaves would also destroy soilborne fungal diseases, nematodes, and other vermin. The microwave equipment didn’t take hold at that time because it was not economically feasible.
Because strawberries are worth $2.6 billion annually, it might be worthwhile to see if this farm equipment is economically feasible now.
William R. Delucchi