Biopesticides: a new opportunity

The actual demand to use environmentally-friendly methods to control plant pests and diseases has resulted in an increase of the Biopesticides market.

Moreover, the European Community strongly promotes the use of Biopesticides, in association with the conventional pesticides, as part of their Integrated Pest Management programs.

The active ingredients of the Biopesticides consist of microorganisms (Microbial Pest Control Agents, MPCAs), botanic extracts, insect sex pheromones and other types of compounds naturally present in the environment.

There are many advantages on using of Biopesticides: highly selective mode of action, low or no residues, no resistance developing. Moreover, they support the plants in salinity, temperature and drought tolerance.

MPCAs, due to their natural occurrence, are often considered as low risk substances but it does not mean that they are not potentially hazardous. These microorganisms, being living organisms, with biological properties, behave in different ways, depending on the environment in which they exist. The microorganisms can result in an environmental imbalance, as the growing of other microorganisms are usually absent in the specific agricultural field.

Furthermore, there is little knowledge about their secondary metabolites and the hazard related to the toxins produced. It should be stressed that currently there are no specific EU guidance documents that are internationally accepted. The risk assessment methodologies, already in use for chemicals, are not suitable to evaluate the complex theme of safety and risks associated with the use of ‘living’ substances.

The OECD (Organization European for the Cooperation and Development) steering group, and other ad hoc groups, are working on Biopesticides, reviewing data requirements, promoting the harmonization of the EU member states and developing new test guidelines for microorganisms.

BioTecnologie B.T. has a 20-year experience in the research and development of Biopesticides.

As a matter of fact, BioTecnologie B.T. was born as a company dealing with the research of microbiological new active ingredients (bacteria, viruses, yeasts) for use in agriculture.

For this reason our laboratories can support companies with the registration iter of a Biopesticide: from the characterization of the active substance (identification and effectiveness assessment), passing by the development of fermentation and formulation processes, to GLP studies