The Biobed Story

The first biobed was built in Sweden. Photo: Maria del Pilar Castillo

The Biobed Story

There are many people in Sweden involved in the work with biobeds. The pioneers of this work are Prof. Lennart Torstensson from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Göran Ohlsson − a farmer from the farmer organization “Odling i balans” (Cultivation in Balance). The first biobed was built by Göran Ohlsson in 1993 at his farm located in the south of Sweden.

Nowadays, it is estimated that there are more than 1,500 biobeds in Sweden. A recent study performed by the researchers Maria del Pilar Castillo and Leticia Pizzul from RISE Agrifood and Bioscience (former JTI – Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering), and garden consultant Eskil Nilsson, found that Swedish farmers still consider the Swedish design of the biobed to be a useful way of handling pesticides. Since the 2000´s the Swedish biobed has been adopted in many more countries in Europe (e.g. UK, France, Belgium, Italy and Greece), Latin America (e.g. Chile, Guatemala) where it has been adapted to the local needs and often renamed. The latest survey in 2013 indicated more than 5,000 biobeds in Europe and approximately 2,000 in Latin America.

One of the researchers that took part in the initial development of the biobed in the early 1990´s, was Maria del Pilar Castillo, together with colleagues at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Castillo was at that time a PhD student from Prof. Torstensson´s group at SLU. Now she is working at RISE Agrifood and Bioscience. Together with Dr Leticia Pizzul she has been dedicated to research development of the biobed-system and in continuing disseminating of the biobed, e.g. in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Maria del Pilar Castillo, Associate Professor (top) and Leticia Pizzul, PhD, both at RISE Agrifood and Bioscience (former JTI – Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering).