Archive for the ‘Biorational products’ Category

Regulating Biologicals: Interview with Roma Gwynn of AgBioScout

Renee TargosBy Renee Targos|5 July 2022

AgriBusiness Global Direct – The Next Generation of Magazines
Get reports that offer news, analysis, and insight about industry issues that matter. From macro trends to global agribusiness perspectives, you’ll find it all here. EXPERIENCE THE LATEST ➔


Agribusiness is very familiar with regulatory processes for agrochemicals in countries around the world. The process for reviewing and approving biological products, on the other hand, could use a fresh perspective. Regulation frameworks created for agrochemicals used to review biologicals can create backlogs and prevent new technologies from entering the market. We talked with biocontrol expert Roma Gwynn, Chief Scientific Officer of AgBioScout, to find out what she’s seeing around the world for regulating microorganisms and botanicals.

ABG: What are the regulatory changes happening for biologicals?


RG: When new biological technologies are getting submitted for regulation review, they are required to fit into the existing regulatory framework, which is designed for conventional chemicals. The problem is that the types of substances biologicals are made up of don’t fit within that regulatory framework. The wrong questions are being asked, and the right questions are not being asked.

There has been a lot of activity and development in biological technologies. It’s recognized that regulation can be a barrier to the adoption of these new technologies. Lack of specific regulation is slowing down the innovation that’s going on. No one wants to compromise safety in any way, but there’s a need to change the system so that it’s appropriate, proportional, and better resourced with evaluators with the right skills.

ABG: What countries are doing well as far as creating regulations for biologicals?

RG: For the last 30 years, the United States has had a regulatory team skilled in biological technologies and whose only focus is on these technologies. We can see far more technologies available in the U.S. than in other parts of the world because of this team. In Brazil, they have worked to facilitate the regulatory system and make it more appropriate to the technologies. Brazil now has the fastest growing number of biologicals available as a result of that work. In Kenya, the government came together for a weekend in 2003 with the right experts and stakeholders and revised the regulation framework, which resulted in decreasing time for regulatory approvals and more products on the market.

There’s plenty of evidence from these countries to say if the regulatory changes happen it moves the new biological technologies into farmer’s hands at a faster rate. This benefits the health of people and the environment for achieving sustainability goals.

ABG: I noticed you didn’t mention the European Union (EU). How are they faring in their regulatory process?

RG: The EU is, in general, one of the slowest regulatory frameworks that we have both for chemicals and biologicals. The reason for that is a triplicate system, and it’s backlogged. It takes two years just to find a slot to submit your active substance for review, and then takes seven to 10 years to be evaluated and go from an active substance to product label. This is a massive barrier to new technology. It’s compounded for biologicals because only some of the EU countries are skilled in understanding and working with biological technology. Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, and France for example have trained their regulatory staff to understand biological technologies, but this doesn’t reduce the review time, because of the volume of applications backlogged. The EU needs to resource its regulatory system properly to stop it holding back biological technologies.

ABG: How is the regulation process negatively affecting the biological industry?

RG: We never want to compromise safety but regulation is impeding innovation because it is not adapting fast enough. Biocontrol technologies have been around for many years but there has been consistent inertia by governments to do anything to facilitate their coming onto the market. It costs around $500,000 to $2 million to take a new technology through the regulatory process. For any company, especially a small start-up company, they can’t access this money. Governments don’t give grants for registration. I see many biological technologies not making it to the market. These start-up companies can’t make it financially to fund a dossier and then have to wait up to five to 10 years without an income. Plus, I’ve seen small and big companies pull products, because they can’t afford both to wait nor the costs. The cost of registration is too high compared to the market opportunity. People have some great ideas that just aren’t getting created due to this cost and time of regulation.


Read Full Post »

Australia: Using BioClay technology to protect plants against whitefly

It’s one of the biggest challenges facing the environment and farmers across the globe – pest control. But now, University of Queensland scientists have developed an environmentally friendly spray that could prove to be a game-changer for the agricultural industry.

The breakthrough is part of UQ’s BioClay technology, a safe and sustainable alternative to chemical pesticides, which has been developed over the past decade by the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).

Professor Neena Mitter and PhD candidate Ritesh Jain discuss how BioClay repels pests such as whitefly. 

Research team leader Professor Neena Mitter said it was an important development for crop protection because it was effective against whitefly (Bemisia tabaci), a small insect responsible for the loss of billions of dollars in agricultural crops around the world.

“Silverleaf whitefly (SLW) is considered an invasive species in the United States, Australia, Africa, and several European countries, and it attacks more than 500 plant species including cotton, pulses, chili, capsicum, and many other vegetable crops,” Professor Mitter said. “The insect lays eggs on the underside of the leaves, and the nymphs and adults suck the sap from the plant resulting in reduced yields.”

In addition, whiteflies also transmit many viruses which pose a threat to healthy crops. Control of the pest has been difficult due to its ability to quickly develop resistance to traditional chemical pesticides. The BioClay spray uses degradable clay particles that carry double-stranded RNA, which enters the plant and protects it without altering the plant’s genome.

“It is the first time the BioClay platform has been used to target sap-sucking insect pests,” Professor Mitter said. “When whiteflies try to feed on the sap, they also ingest the double-stranded RNA, which kills the insect by targeting genes essential to its survival. The world of RNA is not just responsible for COVID-19 vaccines, it will also revolutionize the agricultural industry by protecting plants from viruses, fungi, and insect pests,” she said.

PhD candidate Ritesh Jain using the environmentally friendly spray. 

To identify suitable gene targets, PhD candidate Ritesh Jain went through the global database of genome sequences. “Initially, we had to screen hundreds of genes specific to SLW to see which ones would affect their growth,” Mr. Jain said. “Importantly, the double-stranded RNA proved harmless when fed to other insects, such as stingless bees and aphids.”

The Cotton Research and Development Corporation’s Senior Research and Development Manager, Susan Maas, says SLW is a major pest of cotton globally due to its ability to contaminate and downgrade lint quality. “This innovation will support the industry to maintain Australia’s reputation for producing uncontaminated, high-quality cotton in a safe and environmentally friendly way,” Ms. Maas said.

Professor Neena Mitter holding one of the crops susceptible to whitefly. 

Hort Innovation’s research and development manager, Dr. Vino Rajandran, said the spray could give the industry another tool in its biosecurity armory. “It has the potential to save growers time and money and is a great example of industry levy investment in action,” Dr. Rajandran said.

The researchers will now work with industry partner Nufarm Limited to test the whitefly BioClay formulation in real-world production systems.

Nufarm’s Global Lead for Transformational Projects, Mike Pointon, said the company was “proud to be partnering with these world leading scientists to develop cutting-edge technologies that bring new, alternative control options to farmers.”

For more information:
University of Queensland

Publication date: Thu 19 May 2022

Read Full Post »

Biopesticide helps beat fall armyworm crop pest, increasing farm yields by 63% in South Sudan


Fall armyworm is an invasive pest that has spread throughout sub-Saharan Africa since its discovery in 2017. Biopesticides like Fawligen are helping to control the pest and replace the need for chemical pesticides. The application of Fawligen has resulted in an average yield increase of 63% for farmers in South Sudan, equivalent to an increase in income of $609 per hectare.Third slideHealthy maize cobs at the end of the projectPreviousNext

The story

In recent years, the fall armyworm pest has devastated maize crops throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Chemical pesticides are currently the main way of controlling the infestations, but they can pose serious risks to the environment and human health.

Natural pesticides, also known as biopesticides, can be a highly effective alternative as they do not pose the same health risk to the environment or to spray operators, especially when used in conjunction with good crop management.

In 2019, CABI and partners tested a biopesticide called Fawligen in Kenya, which showed a maize yield advantage of 1,509 kg/ha over an untreated control field, and then designed the protocol to run a pilot demonstration of the product with 500 farmers in South Sudan. CABI provided local technical training and support to farmers as part of the first pilot study.

During the first phase of the project, farmers were clustered into groups of 50. Each cluster had a lead farmer trained to support the others and use their own farm as a demonstration or training site where they could teach a standard protocol and use of tools.

Crop yield data collected at the end of the growing season from three of the four sites – an area equal to around 132 hectares – showed that application of Fawligen resulted in an average yield increase of 63% for 500 smallholders when compared with untreated maize fields. This was equivalent to an increase in income of $609 per hectare.

A survey carried out at the end of the first pilot revealed that 95% of farmers were willing to pay for Fawligen if they could find it available at a nearby agro-dealer for a price comparable to a synthetic insecticide.

Read Full Post »

Management of Fall Armyworm: The IPM Innovation Lab Approach



Sara Hendery

Communications Coordinator

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management

Hendery, Sara saraeh91@vt.edu

Read Full Post »

Science News


The oldest known grass beds from 200,000 years ago included insect repellents

The ancient bed remnants include fossilized grass, bug-repelling ash and aromatic leaves

South Africa’s Border Cave
South Africa’s Border Cave, shown here at its entrance, contains bits and pieces of the oldest known grass bedding, dating to around 200,000 years ago, researchers say.A. KRUGER

Share this:

By Bruce Bower

AUGUST 13, 2020 AT 2:00 PM

People living in southern Africa around 200,000 years ago not only slept on grass bedding but occasionally burned it, apparently to keep from going buggy.

Remnants of the oldest known grass bedding, discovered in South Africa’s Border Cave, lay on the ashes of previously burned bedding, say archaeologist Lyn Wadley of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and her colleagues. Ash spread beneath bound bunches of grass may have been used to repel crawling, biting insects, which cannot easily move through fine powder, the researchers report in the Aug. 14 Science. Wadley’s team also found bits of burned wood in the bedding containing fragments of camphor leaves, an aromatic plant that can be used as a bug repellent.

Prior to this new find, the oldest plant bedding — mainly consisting of sedge leaves, ash and aromatic plants likely used to keep insects away — dated to around 77,000 years ago at South Africa’s Sibudu rock-shelter.

At Border Cave, chemical and microscopic analyses of excavated sediment showed that a series of beds had been assembled from grasses, such as Guinea grass and red grass. Guinea grass currently grows at Border Cave’s entrance. Bedding past its prime was likely burned in small fire pits, the researchers suspect. Remains of fire pits were found not far from Border Cave’s former grass beds.

Grass fragments uncovered in South African cave
Preserved grass fragments uncovered in a South African cave, left, are by far the oldest known examples of grass bedding, researchers say. Close-up images of those fragments taken by a scanning electron microscope, such as the one shown at right, helped to narrow down what type of grasses were used for bedding.L. WADLEY

Humans in southern Africa intentionally lit fires by around 1 million years ago (SN: 4/2/12). But Border Cave provides the first evidence that ancient grass bedding was burned on purpose.

Small, sharpened stones were also found among grass and ash remains, suggesting that people occasionally sat on cave bedding while making stone tools.

Questions or comments on this article? E-mail us at feedback@sciencenews.org


L. Wadley et al. Fire and grass-bedding construction 200 thousand years ago at Border Cave, South Africa. Science. Vol. 369, August 14, 2020, p. 863. doi: 10.1126/science.abc7239.

Bruce Bower

About Bruce Bower

Bruce Bower has written about the behavioral sciences for Science News since 1984. He writes about psychology, anthropology, archaeolo

Read Full Post »

Organised by

Promoted by

8th International Symposium

Plant Protection and Plant Health in Europe

Efficacy and risks of biorational products in IPM strategies – acceptable?

13-14 December 2017 – Braunschweig, Germany


2015 –  2014201320112009 20072005

 Geschäftsstelle    Login    Suche    AGB    Impressum



The German Scientific Society for Plant Protection and Plant Health r.S. (Deutsche Phytomedizinische Gesellschaft e.V. , DPG), the Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI) and the Humboldt-University Berlin (HU) invite you to be part of the upcoming 8th International Symposium on Plant Protection and Plant Health in Europe (PPPHE) on „Efficacy and risks of biorationals in organic and integrated plant protection strategies – acceptable?”.  The symposium will be held December 13 and 14, 2017 at the Julius Kühn-Institut in Braunschweig, Germany.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Plant Protection in Organic Agriculture (PPOA) should be science-based decision- making processes that identify and reduce risks from pests and pest management related strategies. They coordinate the consideration of pest biological factors, environmental conditions, and all available instruments to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage, while concurrently combining economical means with the least possible risk to people, property, resources, and the environment.

We use the widely known term »biorationals« as an operative expression to speak about certain kinds of components of plant protection strategies, which are assumed to have advantages concerning risk characteristics on the one hand while at the same time provide acceptable efficacy in reducing pest impact. Nevertheless it is not our intention to propose a new legal category!

The products we want to speak about are often materials that are biologically-derived or, if synthetic, structurally similar and functionally identical to a biologically occurring material. Micro-organism, plant extracts, basic substances, semiochemicals, as well as non-pesticidal products like biostimulants, biological yield enhancers, plant health promoters, and soil conditioners are a matter of discussion.

Such »biorationals« alone do not reveal sufficient efficacy against pests, but are useful to be integrated in plant protection strategies. In addition, the risk-evaluation requirements under national and European regulatory frameworks of these diverse »biorationals« are very different from each other or there is even a lack of regulatory infrastructure to ensure that »biorationals« get a targeted risk assessment and approval procedure.

On this background, the symposium wants to work out

  • a critical perspective on the risk and efficacy evaluation of »biorationals«
  • an overview of agricultural and socio- economic experiences with »acceptable« instead of »sufficient« efficacy in pest managment strategies
  • impediments to introduce »biorationals« under the existing Sustainable Use Directive 2009/128
  • a conclusive statement to promote »biorationals« for use in agriculture

For registration and updated information please visit our homepage http://www.ppphe.phytomedizin.org/.

For more details:

Dr. Falko Feldmann Dr. Christian Carstensen
Email: Feldmann@phytomedizin.org Email: Carstensen@phytomedizin.org
Email2: falko.feldmann@julius-kuehn.de

Read Full Post »