Archive for the ‘Biopesticide’ Category

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Pau Ulanch John Sorenson Ag Biotech
On hand for the Ag Biotech Entrepreneurial Showcase at the Cotton Room in Durham are Paul Ulanch, executive director, Biotechnology Crop Commercialization Center, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and John Sorenson, chief executive officer of Vestaron in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Ex global agribiz leader says market ready for biological insecticides

Thirty years ago, most of the major agricultural chemical companies looked at venom from inspects and spiders and believed it would make great insecticides. But every venture failed.

John Hart | May 15, 2017

Thirty years ago, most of the major agricultural chemical companies looked at venom from insects and spiders and believed it would make great insecticides. But every venture failed.

Today, a company called Vestaron is successfully making Spear, a biological insecticide from spider venom that is expected to go to market later this year. At the Ag Biotech Entrepreneurial Showcase, held at the historic Cotton Room in Durham, N.C. May 10, John Sorenson, Vestaron’s chief executive officer, told the story of how his company did what others couldn’t do 30 years ago.

“The reasons they failed is that molecular biology tools were too crude and the production systems were not well developed,” Sorenson explained about earlier attempts to make insecticides from venom. “They didn’t know how to produce them, especially the small peptides that are very difficult to produce, and the regulatory path was not favorable. Biological insecticides had to go down the same regulatory path through EPA as synthetic chemicals.”

The market at the time was not ready for biological insecticides. “Consumers had not yet become aware or concerned about the food they eat and the pesticide residues contained on that food,” Sorenson said.In the past few years, the regulatory and marketing environment became more simplified for biological insecticides and Vestaron was able to take advantage of that.

At the forum for ag biotech entrepreneurs sponsored by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Sorenson offered some lessons learned on how Vestaron, based in Kalamazoo, Mich., was able to make and market Spear, the first biotech insecticide made from spider venom.

Sorenson was president of Syngenta’s global biotechnology business and president of its North American seed business. He was also head of Asgrow’s (now Monsanto’s) global vegetable seed business. He began his career as an assistant and associate professor of genetics at North Carolina State University.

Spear is a dual-mode of action line of bioinsecticides that offers pest control in ornamentals, vegetables and fruits in field and greenhouse settings. Commercial availability is expected later this year. It is non-toxic to mammals, birds, fish, honeybees and most benefecials.Sorenson said Vestaron surveyed 50 to 250 classes of peptides and selected the ones that had no human effects and then isolated the genes for those.

“Venoms from spiders, centipedes are simple and elegant,” Sorenson explained.  “They all have similar structure. If these guys don’t kill insects, they don’t eat, but a lot of them have negative human consequences as well.”

Spear is the first biological insecticide developed from this technology that offers full synthetic capabilities. The problem in the past was that biological insecticides tended to be only 80 percent effective while synthetic pesticides were 95 to 100 percent effect.

Sorenson emphasized that this effectiveness is critical for a product to be successful. He said this is an important lesson for ag biotech entrepreneurs to remember. “Good products have to solve real problems in the real world. If you don’t have that, you’re not going to have a product,” he said.

In the early days, Vestaron’s products showed only about 50 percent kill which is not good enough. Sorenson said the first goal was to get the effectiveness up to 80 percent, the same as other biologicals, and the second was to get performance up to synthetic chemical standards.

“The fact of the matter is if growers have to sacrifice 20 percent of their crop in order to use your product, they’re not going to use it. Fortunately, we were able to solve that problem as well,” Sorenson said.

Sorenson urged biotech startups to be aware of that status quo. “This is probably one of the biggest lessons that I learned,” he noted.

“The fact is nobody wants the startup to succeed except for the investors and the people that are involved in the startup. The rest of the world, the competition, doesn’t want you to succeed. And the competition has some big players that carry a lot of weight and make it very difficult for you to succeed.”

Moreover, Sorenson said customers are always leery of new products “The newer it is, the more radical it is, the more they are leery about it. The status quo is a mighty machine and it’s built to help you fail at every turn,” he said.

“If you can’t produce profitably, you don’t have a product. The boneyards of biotechnology are literally littered with startups that couldn’t produce their products profitably. That is reported as the leading cause of death among startups.”

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Greater efforts are needed to promote biopesticides | EurekAlert! Science News

Public Release: 4-May-2017


There are a number of environmental and economic reasons to promote the development and use of biological compounds as pesticides. A new analysis finds that there are fewer biopesticides registered in the European Union (EU) compared with the United States, India, Brazil, and China.

The relatively low level of biopesticide research in the EU relates to the greater complexity of EU-based biopesticide regulations compared with other countries. Differences between regions mean an uneven advancement of biopesticide technology and hence missed opportunities for improvement.

“All in all, the five regions considered include about half of the planet’s human population (comprising some 3.7 billion people and a total GDP of ~ $US 52 trillion), and so improving biopesticide regulation and research can, and undoubtedly will, enhance environmentally-friendly agriculture practice and performance on a global scale,” wrote the authors of the Pest Management Science study.


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.


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Number of biopesticides available in Europe forecast to overtake chemicals within ten years, says former EU adviser on IPM

Biopesticides set to "overtake chemicals"

Dr Dave Chandler is leading a reserach project to help growers use biopesticides more effectively

There will be more biopesticides on the European market than chemical ones within five to ten years, according to a leading microbiologist and agricultural adviser.

With a raft of new biological products in the pipeline, Europe is set to overtake the Americas to become the biggest market in the world for non-chemical pesticides, according to Dr Dave Chandler, a microbiologist and entomologist at the Warwick University’s crop centre, who has advised the European Parliament and the US Department of Agriculture on Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

This follows the introduction in 2009 of the EU’s Sustainable Use Directive, which set rules for the sustainable use of pesticides to reduce the risks posed by pesticides to people’s health and the environment.

At present there are 91 bio and agchem firms manufacturing biopesticide products in Europe, and only around 35 products available in the UK. But in the UK alone the biopesticide market is booming, with annual growth rates of 15 per cent, compared to 3 per cent for standard synthetic pesticides.

“In Europe, within about five to ten years there will be more biopesticides on the market than there will be chemical pesticides,” Chandler predicted during a talk at the 2016 Great British Tomato Conference on 29 September.

“Europe is going to be the biggest market in the world for biopesticides, so it is important that you as an industry and we as research scientists are able to use them effectively,” he added.

Biopesticides have several advantages relating to safety, notably that they are low-risk compounds, they have short re-entry intervals and most don’t produce residues.

Chandler is also confident that some biopesticide products have proven potential in IPM – an EU initiative within the Sustainable Use Directive to promote low pesticide input management of crops.

But he concedes that the performance of some biopesticides is “sub-optimal” and concedes that, as a rule, the biopesticides already on the market are “less effective than standard chemical pesticides”, giving “variable levels of efficacy”.

There are also technical barriers to their use, Chandler said. “We need to improve things like application; we need to have better understanding of how environmental factors affect their use; and their compatibility with chemical pesticides needs better investigation.”

In an effort to tackle some of these challenges, Chandler is leading a project funded by the AHDB called AMBER (Application and Management of Biopesticides for Efficacy and Reliability). It aims to enable UK growers to adopt new practices that improve the performance of biopesticides within commercial IPM programmes.

The programme, which began in January 2016 and will run until 2020, will benchmark biopesticides that target pests in six different crops types, including aphids in peppers, whitefly in mint and powdery mildew in cucumbers.

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New York Times



People throwing tomatoes at one another during last year’s La Tomatina festival in Buñol, Spain. Credit Alberto Saiz/Associated Press

The streets of Buñol, Spain, will run red this week as 20,000 people hurl tomatoes at one another during La Tomatina, the world’s biggest food fight.

It’s a luxury that others envy.

Around the world, tomato crops are being ravaged by an invasive moth no larger than an eyelash. Originally from Chile, Tuta absoluta, also known as the tomato leaf miner, was introduced to Europe in 2006 via a container of infested tomatoes imported to Castellón, a Spanish province not far from Buñol. It spread throughout Europe, then to the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The toll is particularly devastating in developing countries, where many farmers can’t afford integrated pest management (I.P.M.), the multipronged approach that has proved most effective at keeping the moth at bay.

Earlier this year, officials in northern Nigeria, where tomatoes are a staple, declared a state of emergency in Kaduna State, a major producer of the country’s tomatoes. By May, the moth had destroyed more than 80 percent of tomato crops in Kaduna; the price for a large basket of tomatoes rose to $212, from just $1.50 to $7.50 before the shortage.

At the peak of the outbreak, a Nigerian website published an article about Spain’s tomatofest headlined: “La Tomatina: 17 tomato photos that will make Nigerians cry ‘where is our God?’

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Though the leaf miner’s range in Europe is extensive, from Spain to Lithuania, many farmers have kept the moth’s numbers under control with an arsenal of specialized tactics. These include pheromones that lure the moths into traps or disrupt their mating; biopesticides based on bacteria, fungi or oils; chemical pesticides that are highly selective; and the introduction of the leaf miner’s natural enemies.

The last measure has been extremely effective in Spain, said Alberto Urbaneja, a professor at the Valencian Institute of Agricultural Research and one of the first to research the Tuta absoluta invasion in Europe. “If you can establish a good I.P.M. system based on biological control, it is possible to manage Tuta,” he said.

In countries with low financial resources, farmers often don’t take action until the pest has moved in. When it does, farmers turn to the pesticides they have on hand, which typically kill a broad spectrum of pests.

These chemicals are environmentally harmful and eventually lead to pesticide-resistant bugs.

In some countries, the problem comes down to a lack of technical knowledge or government support. With funding from USAID, Muni Muniappan, the director of the IPM Innovation Lab based at Virginia Tech, has been running workshops around the world to help farmers prepare for the inevitable spread of the leaf miner, which also attacks such crops as potatoes, eggplants and peppers.

Meeting the pest head-on “requires lots of training and information,” Dr. Muniappan said. But his work is currently limited to seven countries in Africa and Asia, including Bangladesh and Nepal, where scientists successfully caught the start of a Tuta absoluta invasion earlier this summer.

Experts say it’s only a matter of time before the moth invades the remaining countries within its geographical limits, including the United States, where the Agriculture Department has been monitoring Tuta absoluta and regulating the import of tomatoes since 2009.


A Tuta absoluta larva on a tomato leaf. The moth, also known as the tomato leaf miner, can destroy entire crops. Credit Costas Metaxakis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The moths have a high reproductive capacity — each female produces up to 300 offspring in her lifetime — and they are small enough to be transported by wind, Dr. Urbanejo said. Their larvae devour tomato leaves, stems, fruits and flowers; uncontrolled, the pest can damage 100 percent of a crop.

Nevertheless, with the right combination of methods, countries should be able to keep the moth at manageable levels, Dr. Urbanejo said.

The problem is already showing signs of stabilizing in some African countries, including Kenya, where the moth was first detected in 2013. Farmers there are starting to use pheromone lures and adaptive practices like alternating tomatoes with other crops, said Fathiya Khamis, a scientist at the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi.

At least one company in Kenya, Kenya Biologics, now sells pheromone traps locally, and Dr. Khamis’s team is looking into other options as well, like fungal biopesticides and specialized nets.

As farmers adopt more sustainable strategies, tomato lovers may ultimately have to adjust to higher prices. Still, the drastic price hikes that initially accompanied outbreaks have settled down. In Kenya, tomato prices rose to $1.25 a kilogram after the moth outbreak from just 60 cents. Now, prices hover around $1. Tomato prices are now just slightly above what they were before the outbreak in Nigeria as well, said Orode Doherty, a doctor who lives in Lagos.

As for La Tomatina, its organizers say it is not contributing to tomato shortages; 145 to 160 tons of wild tomatoes are grown in western Spain just for the festival. These tomatoes aren’t cultivated, harvested or processed as they would be for human consumption, said Miguel Sanfeliu, a representative at La Tomatina.

“It’s like growing trees to make confetti for a party,” he said.

Correction: August 30, 2016
An earlier version of this article misstated the number of countries in which Muni Muniappan has been running workshops to help farmers prepare for the inevitable spread of Tuta absoluta. It is seven, not six.

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Press release from: Market Research Hub
Market Research HUB
Market Research HUB


Albany, New York, July 22, 2016: Market Research Hub (MRH) recently announced the addition of a new research study to its comprehensive collection of research reports. The research report, titled “Global Biological Pesticide Consumption 2016 Market Research Report,” offers a detailed analysis of the market, providing insights into the market dynamics that are expected to influence the overall market negatively as well as positively in the next few years. Furthermore, the product segmentation, drivers, barriers, key geographical segments, and the competitive scenario of the global biological pesticide market have been elaborated upon in the research report.

The research study focuses on the consumption of biological pesticides across the globe. The historical data and estimated figures have been presented in the study with the help of tables, infographics, and charts to provide a clear understanding of the market. In addition, inputs given by the industry specialists are anticipated to guide the existing and new players in designing effective business policies throughout the forecast period. The research study presents an overview of the global market, comprising the classifications, definitions, and applications of biological pesticides. The marketing channels and development trends adopted by the key players in order to strengthen their position in the market are also discussed in the research report.

Read Full Report on Global Biological Pesticide Consumption Market: www.marketresearchhub.com/report/global-biological-pestic…

The increasing demand for organic products, stress-free harvest, and labor flexibility are the key factors expected to fuel the growth of the global biological pesticide market in the forecast period. Moreover, the rapid growth in the demand for bio-control seed treatment solutions is projected to create potential opportunities for the market players in the next few years. However, the low shelf life of biological pesticides and low awareness regarding the advantages of using biological pesticides are estimated to curb the growth of the overall market in the coming few years.

The global biological pesticide market has been classified on the basis of geography into China, Japan, the U.S., and Europe. The market size, demand, consumption, and share of each region have been presented in the study. The rising demand for organic food in developed as well as developing regions is one of the prominent factors projected to contribute extensively towards the growth of the market in the near future. Furthermore, the growing research and development activities in several regions are estimated to offer new growth opportunities for the key players, boosting the consumption of biological pesticides across the globe.

Download Free Sample Report with TOC in a PDF Format: www.marketresearchhub.com/enquiry.php?type=S&repid=717280

Furthermore, the research report analyzes the leading players operating in the global biological pesticide market and offers a comprehensive vendor analysis for the same. Their company profiles, contact information, product portfolio, business strategies, financial status, and recent developments in the market have been discussed in the scope of the research report. Some of the leading players mentioned in the study are Sumitomo Chemical, DuPont, DOW, Nichino, Monsanto, Nufarm, UPL, ADAMA, Mitsui Chemicals, Arysta, FMC, Cheminova, Syngenta, Bayer, and BASF.

Market Research HUB (MRH) is a next-generation reseller of research reports and analysis. MRH’s expansive collection of market research reports has been carefully curated to help key personnel and decision makers across industry verticals to clearly visualize their operating environment and take strategic steps.

MRH functions as an integrated platform for the following products and services: Objective and sound market forecasts, qualitative and quantitative analysis, incisive insight into defining industry trends, and market share estimates. Our reputation lies in delivering value and world-class capabilities to our clients.

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This release was published on openPR.

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IPM in (8) principle(s)

August 05, 2015

An ENDURE team of 17 co-authors has just published a review paper on the European Union’s eight principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The paper provides researchers, advisers and farmers with an approach for applying these legal requirements intelligently to promote local innovation while reducing reliance on pesticides and associated risks. The authors hope that interest in this approach may help garner support from European and national policy makers to set incentives promoting IPM extension work, demonstrations, research and implementation.

Rather than searching for a universally applicable silver-bullet solution, the authors argue in favour of a broad approach that takes local specificities into account and allows all farmers to engage in IPM at any point within the continuum. Their vision stems from the realistic acceptance that pesticide-based crop protection is simple and efficient in generating spectacular short-term results. More sustainable alternative strategies will inevitably be more complex and knowledge-intensive in their initial development stage.

The process envisioned therefore requires learning, adaptation, and tweaking of a number of farm management practices. It requires extending the challenge of crop protection to larger spatial and temporal scales, and generating more complex cropping systems better adapted to the local context. It also requires attention to non-technical aspects such as the social environment in which farmers operate, collective learning and farmers’ inclination for step-wise rather than drastic changes.

But the approach is viable, and the authors offer real-life examples of successful experiences with the types of tactics and strategies suggested.

The authors note that 70 years of reliance on chemical protection has led to the development of cropping systems that have become inherently vulnerable to pests. By emphasising Principle 1 on prevention, the authors offer concrete illustrations on how to modify cropping systems to make them more robust in the absence of pesticides. The authors also identify the limits and opportunities associated with Principles 2 to 7 – a logical sequence starting with observation and ending with using chemicals as a last resort. Last but not least, a new slant is given on the question of evaluation (Principle 8) regarding the need for the development of new performance criteria and their routine use among the farming community.

For more information:

Barzman M, Bàrberi P, Birch ANE, Boonekamp P, Dachbrodt-Saaydeh S, Graf B, Hommel B, Jensen JE, Kiss J, Kudsk P, Lamichhane JR, Messéan A, Moonen AC, Ratnadass A, Ricci P, Sarah JL, Sattin M. 2015. Eight principles of integrated pest management. Agronomy for Sustainable Development , online first. doi 10.1007/s13593-015-0327-9. It is available here

ANNEX III of Framework Directive 2009/128/EC

General principles of Integrated Pest Management. For ease of reference, the authors have added shorthand titles to each principle

Principle 1 – Prevention and suppression The prevention and/or suppression of harmful organisms should be achieved or supported among other options especially by:

  • Crop rotation
  • Use of adequate cultivation techniques (e.g. stale seedbed technique, sowing dates and densities, under-sowing, conservation tillage, pruning and direct sowing)
  • Use, where appropriate, of resistant/tolerant cultivars and standard/certified seed and planting material
  • Use of balanced fertilisation, liming and irrigation/drainage practices
  • Preventing the spreading of harmful organisms by hygiene measures (e.g. by regular cleansing of machinery and equipment)
  • Protection and enhancement of important beneficial organisms, e.g. by adequate plant protection measures or the utilisation of ecological infrastructures inside and outside production sites
Principle 2 – Monitoring Harmful organisms must be monitored by adequate methods and tools, where available. Such adequate tools should include observations in the field as well as scientifically sound warning, forecasting and early diagnosis systems, where feasible, as well as the use of advice from professionally qualified advisers.
Principle 3 – Decision-making Based on the results of the monitoring the professional user has to decide whether and when to apply plant protection measures. Robust and scientifically sound threshold values are essential components for decision-making. For harmful organisms, threshold levels defined for the region, specific areas, crops and particular climatic conditions must be taken into account before treatments, where feasible.
Principle 4 – Non-chemical methods Sustainable biological, physical and other non-chemical methods must be preferred to chemical methods if they provide satisfactory pest control.
Principle 5 – Pesticide selection The pesticides applied shall be as specific as possible for the target and shall have the least side effects on human health, non-target organisms and the environment.
Principle 6 – Reduced pesticide use The professional user should keep the use of pesticides and other forms of intervention to levels that are necessary, e.g. by reduced doses, reduced application frequency or partial applications, considering that the level of risk in vegetation is acceptable and they do not increase the risk for development of resistance in populations of harmful organisms.
Principle 7 – Anti-resistance strategies Where the risk of resistance against a plant protection measure is known and where the level of harmful organisms requires repeated application of pesticides to the crops, available anti-resistance strategies should be applied to maintain the effectiveness of the products. This may include the use of multiple pesticides with different modes of action.
Principle 8 – Evaluation Based on the records on the use of pesticides and on the monitoring of harmful organisms the professional user should check the success of the applied plant protection measures.


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AsEAN Guidelines

This eight-minute video tries to set the stage for approach of ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood System (SAS) towards the healthy production of crops. The Video deals with the mythical view of synthetic pesticide on our daily food crops and discusses potential alternatives such as the use of biological pest management. This video also provides some opinions of crop producers, consumer and members of ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood System (SAS) project to complete the picture.


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