Archive for the ‘Biopesticide’ Category

The Good Virus: A Bioinsecticide Helps Farmers Control Caterpillar Pests

10/19/2021 | 10:12 AM CDT

Progressive Farmer

Emily Unglesbee

By  Emily Unglesbee , DTN Staff ReporterConnect with Emily: @Emily_Unglesbee

Some farmers are taking advantage of a virus-based bioinsecticide that helps control Helicoverpa zea -- that multi-crop-eating pest known as corn earworm, cotton bollworm, soybean podworm and sorghum headworm. (DTN File Photo by Pamela Smith)
Some farmers are taking advantage of a virus-based bioinsecticide that helps control Helicoverpa zea — that multi-crop-eating pest known as corn earworm, cotton bollworm, soybean podworm and sorghum headworm. (DTN File Photo by Pamela Smith)

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — Frank Appleberry has a list of things to apply each spring to his crop fields in Tillar, Arkansas: preplant fertilizer, preemergence herbicides and oh, don’t forget the liquid blend of pulverized caterpillars, teeming with live viruses.

It sounds unconventional, but for a growing number of American farmers, this type of bioinsecticide is proving a regular and reliable tool to control Helicoverpa zea, the multi-crop pest known as soybean podworm, sorghum headworm, corn earworm and cotton bollworm.

These bioinsecticides are made from a strain of naturally occurring nuclear polyhedrosis viruses (NPVs), recently categorized as Group 31 insecticides. They are sprayed on row crop foliage like a normal insecticide. From there, things get a little gruesome, but only for the targeted caterpillar pests.

After ingesting the bioinsecticide, the caterpillar dies within a week, and the virus turns its corpse into a virus-replicating factory. The blackened, jelly-like remains of the worm overflow with more viruses, ready to infect more caterpillars, who in turn produce more virus. And so the cycle goes, until the caterpillar infestation abates and — without a host — the virus fades into the ecological background.

“It’s just part of what we do now in the spring,” explained Appleberry, who has replaced much of his onerous schedule of spraying soybeans at least every two weeks, with a single application of an NPV-based bioinsecticide called Heligen, around soybean bloom. “The first year we used it, we sprayed 1,150 acres and only had to come back with a pyrethroid for worms on about 200 acres,” he recalled.

These types of viruses are already circulating in nature and are not totally new to agriculture. University researchers dabbled with harnessing their insecticidal properties back in the 1970s, but they were largely supplanted by the advent of fast-acting synthetic insecticides, such as pyrethroids.

Now, a global biotech company, AgBiTech, has scaled up a commercial NPV product in the U.S., Heligen. It uses an NPV strain that targets H. zea (bollworm/earworm/podworm/headworm) and is registered for use in most row crops. AgBiTech also offers a suite of products registered globally to control other caterpillar pests, such as soybean looper (Chrysogen), armyworm (Fawligen), old world bollworm (Armigen), and a dual-virus product combining the H. zea and soybean looper strains (Surtivo). Other brands of NPVs also exist, but AgBiTech has made the largest inroads among American growers, university entomologists and farmers told DTN.

Amid growing insect resistance to insecticides and Bt, as well as interest in more eco-friendly farming practices, the success of NPVs has caught the attention of an even bigger player — Corteva Agriscience. This year, the company announced its plans to commercialize an NPV strain marketed under the brand name, Hearken, developed by a German company, Andermatt Biocontrol.


AgBiTech prides itself on running what Chief Technology Officer Paula Marcon jokingly calls “a five-star hotel for caterpillars” at the company’s manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas. No check-out required for these doomed guests, however, as the company infects the insects with their NPV strain of choice and then blends them into a smoothie-like liquid, ready for the sprayer.

“It’s a little brownish, like syrup and smells wonderful,” Marcon said. “And it’s well adapted to foliar applications.” Since the NPV cocktails contain living organisms, they do come with some special handling requirements. They can last many years in a freezer and several months at room temperature (under 77 degrees), but if they stay at temperatures well above 77 degrees for more than 36 hours, the products can start to break down. “That last mile to the field, you have to be careful,” said Marcon.

And since the viruses are protected by a protein coating that is degraded by highly alkaline environments — such as a caterpillar’s stomach — tank mixes need to stay below a pH of 8 to keep the virus alive, Marcon said. AgBiTech’s products, such as Heligen and Surtivo, can be tank mixed with other active ingredients, such as herbicides or fungicides, as long as the tank’s pH stays low enough, added Marcos Castro, AgBiTech’s vice president of sales and marketing.

Heligen requires a fairly low use rate, ranging from 1 to 2.5 ounces, depending on the crop, with costs landing around $5 to $6 per acre.

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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.

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Crop Enhancement partners with OHP, Inc.

US: “We are advancing biopesticides, as growers are in need of more biological solutions”

“After applying CropCoat, insects don’t recognize the treated plants as something they want to feed or reproduce on,” says Dr. Damian Hajduk, chief technology officer at Crop Enhancement. The California-based company has a mission to create innovative and more sustainable pest control solutions for growers. “Consumers are demanding more environmentally friendly solutions, so growers are in need of more biological solutions to meet this demand.”

Camouflaging the plant from insects
The first step in this journey was the development of CropCoat®, a non-toxic broad-spectrum biopesticide that is compatible with organic agriculture. CropCoat is a biodegradable film made from plant extracts which is applied to the crop and dries to form a flavorless, odorless coating. This unassuming crop coating reduces pest pressure by camouflaging the plant from insects, according to Hajduk.

How does it work?
According to the company website, CropCoat first smothers any pests present upon application, then dries and binds to the plant surface within 1-2 hours, effectively camouflaging it from pests. After 12-24 hours, CropCoat hardens to a solid film and prevents insects from establishing themselves on the now-foreign surface. “Applying CropCoat alters the tactile, visual, olfactory and taste traits of the plant. Therefore, its unique mode of action is that it does not act on the pest itself but on the pest’s environment. We think that insects are affected by all of these changes to differing degrees. They don’t stop to feed on or damage the treated plants, nor do they stop to reproduce,” explains Hajduk.

Not affecting gas exchange
While CropCoat forms a protective layer against pest insects, the coating does not impede gas exchange as the coating has gaps or pores large enough to allow gas exchange but small enough to prevent insect feeding. Similarly, CropCoat reportedly has no impact on beneficial insects as these feed on pests, not the crop material.

Advancing the deployment of biopesticides
Crop Enhancement has recently announced a new partnership with OHP, Inc., a leader in technology-based solutions to challenges in the greenhouse and ornamental industry. This partnership, according to Hajduk, will allow Crop Enhancement to trial its products in various production systems and to advance the deployment of biopesticides. CropCoat will be available to US growers in 2023. 

For more information:
Crop Enhancement

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PlantwisePlus: safer plant protection products

Dr Belinda Luke is one of the Global Team Leaders for CABI’s new flagship programme PlantwisePlus. Her role within the programme is to oversee the development of local production and distribution systems, for less harmful, biological plant protection products.


Pesticide use on the rise

The increase in devastating crop pests, such as the fall armyworm and tomato pinworm, has led to a growth in pesticide use among smallholder farmers. However, even when used properly pesticides can have a negative impact on human health and the environment.

Biological products often use living organisms, such as insects or pathogens, to control pest populations. They are generally of no, or low toxicity to humans and because they are often highly specific to a pest, or group of pests, they do not have unwanted effects on non-target organisms.

Dr Luke has worked for CABI for 25 years in the Biopesticide Team developing mycoinsecticides (natural fungi that kill insect pests) and hence has a good understanding of the challenges entailed in developing safer plant protection products.

Close-up of a southern armyworm on a leaf
Fall armyworm © CABI

Initial activities

Within this workstream three main challenges are being addressed in the initial 3 years of the PlantwisePlus programme:

– Increasing the promotion of low-risk plant protection products by agro-input dealers and exploring how voluntary standards on integrated pest management and pesticide risk reduction can help

– Determining if there are insufficient regulations governing low-risk plant protection product registration and how to improve them

– Increasing availability of biocontrol products by promoting agricultural businesses for low-risk plant protection products.

Desert locust
Desert locust © CABI

Mass producing plant protection products

One of the first activities undertaken by Dr Luke has been a study on what microbial and arthropod mass production approaches are most suitable for small-scale, local producers. Small production facilities often lack the finances and technology of large-scale producers; however, they still need to maintain quality control. The study examined production of beneficial fungi, viruses, nematodes, insects (predators and parasitoids), plant extracts and bacteria-based products.

The study concluded that the most likely organisms to be successfully produced in small local production facilities were beneficial insects, baculoviruses (viruses that infect insects), nematodes and fungi. However, plant extracts and bacteria-based products were not suitable and recommended that they should not be progressed further.

Trissolcus parasitoids attacking halyomorpha egg
Trissolcus parasitoids attacking halyomorpha eggs © CABI

Baculoviruses production

One early stage venture is exploring the feasibility of establishing a system for baculoviruses production by SMEs or small-holder farmers, for the control of caterpillar pests such as Fall Armyworm (FAW). This is being undertaken in collaboration with Andermatt Biocontrol, a leading Biocontrol company. Early stage work is looking at the feasibility of grinding up infected FAW caterpillars and reapplying the baculoviruses mixture to the field for control of subsequent generations of the pest. Brazil have a registered baculovirus for FAW control so it is hoped that our work will also demonstrate the potential for a commercial product in Kenya.

About PlantwisePlus

PlantwisePlus is a global programme, led by CABI, to increase incomes and grow safer and higher quality food through sustainable approaches to crop production.

Working in close partnership with relevant actors, PlantwisePlus strengthens national plant health systems from within, enabling countries to provide farmers with the knowledge they need to lose less and feed more.

CABI gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS, Netherlands), the European Commission Directorate General for International Partnerships (INTPA,EU), the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), for the PlantwisePlus programme.

For more information visit: https://www.plantwise.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Plantwise
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CABI_Plantwise (@CABI_Plantwise)

Further readinghttps://blog.plantwise.org/2021/07/28/plantwiseplus-toolkit-applying-digital-development-principles-to-real-life/embed/#?secret=9m4Xq4oLwihttps://blog.plantwise.org/2021/08/04/plantwiseplus-helping-farmers-grow-safer-higher-quality-food/embed/#?secret=N9M4WmSb1NPlantwisebiocontrolbiopesticidespesticidesplant healthplant pestsplantwiseplusCrop health

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Bacillus Strains Could Help To Protect Banana Crops

August 2 2021 | Original story from Alliance of Bioversity InternationalCredit: Alistair Smailes/ UnsplashRead time: 2 minutes

Bananas are consumed in different ways around the world; with over 1000 varieties, one can surely find a way to use bananas besides simply eating the fruit. The Cavendish is the most commercially cultivated banana variety in the world, mainly because the characteristics of Cavendish banana plants are more climate and extreme weather resilient, and can withstand global transport. However, these characteristics don’t make it immune to pests and diseases.

The Fusarium wilt is a fungus that attacks the banana plant and causes the plant to dry up and die. One of the most dangerous strains is the Tropical Race 4 (TR4) and with no known universal control measure, it seriously threatens banana production globally, particularly the Cavendish.

In a paper published in an MPDI Journal of Fungus, scientists explored disease-biocontrol agents of five Bacillus strains that display antibiotic ability against TR4 in China, one of the largest banana growers in the world.

Bioagents as pesticides

The threat of TR4 crossed oceans and brought hectares of Cavendish plantations to a halt driving smallholder farmers into poverty.

Today, there is only one Bacillus subtilis bioagent registered in China as a pesticide against TR4. More recent research suggests however, that there are other strains that can provide control over TR4—these strains can trigger either direct or indirect antagonism on the fungus.

In terms of the need to expand biocontrol methods against TR4, Sijun Zheng, a scientist at the Alliance says, “the effectiveness of bioagents depend on its capability to colonize into host plants—this is why we need to explore other strains of Bacillus and other bioagents to combat TR4 more efficiently.”

By looking at specific gene markers, the research team found that all five Bacillus strains, namely N67, YN1282-2, WBN06, HN04, and G9R-3 have the ability to perform antagonistic biocontrol methods against TR4. The biocontrol genes studied are capable of making bacillibactin and biotin, both essential in producing antagonistic effects against TR4. In particular, strains WBN06 and YN1282-2 contained all but one biocontrol gene influencing a better control of TR4 compared to the other three strains that were studied through real-time Fluorescent Reverse Transcription Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction.

Unlike other pest and diseases in crops, there is no effective chemical control agent known to manage this soil-borne pathogen TR4.

By looking at what is present in the genes of the Bacillus, it presents an opportunity to explore functional gene’s biocontrol mechanisms against the deadly fungus. This study also opens up the door to see how these Bacillus strains can affect human beings and the ecosystem where it will be deployed.

Reference: Li S, He P, Fan H, et al. A real-time fluorescent reverse transcription quantitative PCR assay for rapid detection of genetic markers’ expression associated with fusarium wilt of banana biocontrol activities in Bacillus. Journal of Fungi. 2021;7(5):353. doi: 10.3390/jof7050353

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

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Invasive insect fall armyworm on the march, but scientists fight back with an oozing virus and an egg-attacking wasp

ABC Rural / By Jennifer NicholsPosted Sat 24 Jul 2021 at 4:59pmSaturday 24 Jul 2021 at 4:59pm

A close up of a caterpillar on a plant leaf
The fall armyworm has been detected in parts of every state and territory except SA.(Supplied: DPIRD)


  • A virus that oozes out through a caterpillar’s skin before exterminating it is being investigated as a way to combat an invasive insect that is devastating some Australian crops.

Key points:

  • Invasive fall armyworm has spread through most of Australia
  • An emergency permit now allows the use of a virus against it
  • Beneficial insects are helping farmers fight fall armyworm

Since fall armyworm was first found in the Torres Strait in January 2020, it has spread to every state and territory except South Australia. 

Their moths can travel up to 400 kilometres a night. 

Researchers are looking at chemical-free options to attack the difficult-to-control bug, including a species-specific virus that oozes out of a caterpillar’s skin before the larva disintegrates.

Dr Melina Miles, who leads the Queensland government’s field crops entomology team in Toowoomba, said so far most farmers were using chemicals to attack the insect.

A lady wearing a hat crouches in a field of corn with chewed leaves.
Melina Miles says fall armyworm has resulted in significant challenges for crop growers.(Supplied: Qld Department of Agriculture and Fisheries)

But she expected that use to drop because winter yields were still good despite damage from the caterpillars.

“Through the work that we’ve been doing at depth, we now know that there are a whole suite of natural enemies, parasitoids and predators, that are attacking fall armyworms,” she said. 

“You can have some confidence that there’s some natural mortality going to occur so it’s not just left to you, as the grower, to control it with insecticides.”

Natural enemies

Non-chemical options, including spraying biopesticide onto the leaves of affected plants, could be used in conjunction with beneficial insects to reduce numbers.

Tiny wasps on the tip of a paint brush.
Tiny adult Trichogramma pretiosum wasps on the tip of a fine paint brush.(Supplied: Melina Miles)

Last year, authorities approved an emergency permit for the use of Fawligen, an organically-certified biopesticide that contains a caterpillar virus that only kills fall armyworm.

“As the larva are eating, they’ll take up these little virus particles and they are only activated in a very alkaline insect gut,” Dr Miles said. 

“It penetrates the gut and starts to replicate and the larva stops feeding. Then the virus eventually starts to ooze out through the skin. Eventually it gets to the point where the larva disintegrates, releasing all these virus particles into the crop.

“We just need to do a little more work to understand how growers might best deploy it.” 

A disgusting looking caterpillar.
Dr Miles says within 4-8 days of fall armyworm being infected with Fawligen, it turns into a sack of virus that eventually explodes.(Supplied: Melina Miles)

Four modern insecticides have had varying success against the pest, but fall armyworm have developed a high resistance to synthetic pyrethroids and moderate resistance to carbamate insecticides.

Third generation dairy farmer Don Davies was looking for a chemical free solution when he ordered tiny Trichogramma wasp eggs.

A farmer wearing a cap, blue shirt and vest stands in thigh deep crops with his dairy cows behind him.
Regenerative dairy farmer Don Davies paid to have Trichogramma egg parasitoid wasps released on his property and was pleased with the results.(Supplied: Don Davies)

He spread them throughout his young corn crop to battle a fall armyworm invasion at east Cooyar, on the Darling Downs.

“They took a few weeks to work, but within a month or so we were getting pretty well on top of them,” Mr Davies said.

Black eggs on a stalk with fuzz on them.
The tiny Trichogramma pretiosum parasitoid wasp targets the eggs of fall armyworm.(Supplied: Melina Miles)

For the past thirty years he has avoided using fertilisers by using multi-species cropping on land his family has farmed for more than 100 years.

Brassicas including turnips, combined with clover and herbs, improve the soil and provide habitat and nectar to beneficial insects.

“We were counting up to 200 beneficials per metre in the corn crop,” he said.

“There was up to seven different lady beetles, and there were all these other natural predators there as well as these Trichogramma wasps that seemed to get right on top of the fall armyworm.”

“Some corn stalks were quite devastated with it, but they recovered quite well.”

The caterpillars favour maize, sweet corn, sorghum, capsicum and C4 pastures, which are more adapted to warm or hot seasonal conditions, when fall armyworm are most active.

Ladybirds on the tassles of a cob of corn.
Beneficial insects including ladybirds helped Don Davies control fall armyworm.(Supplied: Don Davies)

Breeding beneficial bugs

Paul Jones from Bugs for Bugs breeds predatory species of insects and mites for mass release on farms.

Ladybirds, lacewings, pirate bugs, and the tiny parasitoid Trichogramma wasps have proven biological allies against fall armyworm.

A man holds up a sheet of carboard and a small container containing insects.
Paul Jones breeds beneficial insects and sends Trichogramma wasp eggs out in compartments in this sheet of cardboard.(Jennifer Nichols)

“Growers have been using a lot of chemicals to control the pest but because it’s so prolific and aggressive, and the resistance factor is such a big issue, it’s very difficult to control,” Mr Jones said.

“We’re working on a premise of the more diverse and the higher the density of beneficials, the better.”

He said bugs were not cheap.

“They are probably equivalent to the expensive chemicals as there are a lot of labour inputs in producing bugs, but the outcome is far more profitable to the grower if he doesn’t have to spray and he’s coming out with a crop which is not damaged with the pest,” he said.

Badly chewed corn leaves.
Dairy farmer Don Davies found fall armyworm after noticing damage on his maize crop.(Supplied: Don Davies)

Dr Miles said the challenge with insecticides was reaching the fall armyworm on the plants.

“Whereas for parasitoids, and predators, that’s much less of a challenge. They can get down into little nooks and crannies, and under the leaves, and so on, much more easily than a grower could get droplets of insecticide,” she said.Posted 24 Jul 202124 Jul 2021Share

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After decimating crops across the world, the fall armyworm has moved into new Australian territory

Fall armyworm on corn plants

Biosecurity shock as armyworm spreads rapidly south from Torres Strait

A caterpillar, about two centimetres long, in the palm of a person's hand

A very hungry caterpillar that decimated crops around the world has arrived in Australia

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Biopesticides ‘as good as pesticides’ to protect wheat

© Yorkshire Agricultural Society© Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Biological alternatives to chemical pesticides can be used to help deliver comparable wheat yields, according to new research.

The Farmer Scientist Network, supported by Yorkshire Agricultural Society, has been carrying out comparative trials involving spring and winter wheat varieties – see the video below.

The trials found that wheat can be produced using biocontrol technologies, alone or in combination with conventional crop chemistry, while still obtaining similar yields and grain quality.

See also: Why biopesticides will play a bigger role on arable farms

Farmers are under mounting pressure to produce high-quality food that consumers demand due to a series of chemical bans that have limited their toolkit to combat diseases and pests at a time of increasingly challenging weather patterns.

The use of bioprotectants can reduce the environmental impacts associated with chemicals, say the researchers, who hope the trials involving spring and winter wheat varieties could be developed into a viable, widespread solution for growers in the future.

Farmers and scientists joined forces to carry out the Crop Health North project, which aims to find scientific and technological solutions to agricultural challenges.

EU funding

The study was carried out over three years across field sites at Stockbridge Technology Centre and Newcastle University’s Nafferton and Cockle Park Farms. The trials using bioprotectants have been funded through the EU’s European Innovation Partnership (EIP-Agri).

Explore more Know How

Visit our Know How centre for practical farming advice

Bioprotectant specialist Dr Roma Gwynn, director of Biorationale, worked closely with farmers and agronomists to design the trials, having collectively identified an urgent need to explore new, innovative crop protection products.

Bioprotectants are crop protection products found in nature or derived from it, and so they degrade easily once applied to crops.

During the trials, bioprotectants were applied to spring wheat varieties, Willow and Mulika, and winter wheat varieties, Skyfall, Leeds and Sundance.

Three treatment programmes were used, one using conventional chemical crop protection products, one only using bioprotectants and another involving integrated pest management techniques.

The wheat varieties were chosen due to either their susceptibility to diseases or various resistance ratings.

Next steps

David George, reader in precision agronomy at Newcastle University, said: “The project has quite clearly shown that bioprotectants can perform just as well as synthetic crop protection chemistry, especially in integrated programmes.

“The next steps forward are to take the management regimes that have performed very well in our studies to date, and try and look at how we can optimise their use.”

James Standen, director of farming at Newcastle University, added: “We are losing active chemical ingredients to protect crops from pests due to the ‘precautionary principle’ and some crops have now developed a resistance to some chemical treatments, so identifying new opportunities for farmers to help grow profitable wheat crops is really important.”

The Farmer Scientist Network will share the findings during a free webinar from 2-3pm on Wednesday 28 July. Register free for the Crop Health North webinar.

What are biopesticides?

Biopesticides are mass-produced, biologically based agents used for the control of plant pests. They include:

  • Living organisms (natural enemies) – Invertebrates, nematodes and micro-organisms
  • Naturally occurring substances – Plant abstracts; Semiochemicals (eg insect pheromones)
  • Genes (US) – Plant incorporated products

Source: Justin Greaves, University of Warwick

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Nigeria can attain sustainable food security using biological pesticides – Don

ByNaija247news Media, New YorkJune 23, 2021 010 Share

ood Security

June 24, 2021 

June 24, 2021 Naija247news Media, New Yorkhttps://www.naija247news.com/Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

By Akeem Abas
Ibadan, June 18, 2021 A Professor of Nematology, Prof. Timothy Olabiyi, says sustainable food security can be attained through the use of biological pesticides.
Olabiyi disclosed this on Friday while delivering the 45th inaugural lecture of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso.
He said that the only sustainable food security measure is the use of non-synthetic chemicals.
He noted that the world population is increasing on daily basis and many have suffered ill-health as a result of food poison and toxin which are also increasing.
“Sustainable food security can only be attained through the use of biological pesticides that are ecologically friendly and bio-degradable with no chemical residues leading to safe-to-eat food.
“Mass production of biological pesticides and making it available to farmers is germane to disease management and sustainable food security in Nigeria,” he said.
The university don called on Federal Government to establish Biological Pesticide Production Industries that could produce adequate and required biological pesticides.

“Such industries will provide jobs for the youth aside from the fact that the teaming population will have the right to eat safe food,” he said.

He said that the presence of farmer’s hidden enemy is inevitable, adding that they are present everywhere and all year round.

Olabiyi said that sustainable management of these disease-causing micro-organisms is our best option.

According to him, “my target is to produce biological nematicide for farmers in Nigeria.

“I am almost at the point of patenting those products, so that farmers can get to the shop and buy it for their farms.
“At the moment, I have supplied so many farmers nationwide, even in the North East and West.

“They have used it effectively and have given me very good report that it is good and we can use it to replace the synthetic nematicide,” he said.

He called for support to set up an industry for the production of biological nematicide for farmers in Nigeria.
A nematicide is a type of chemical pesticide used to kill plant-parasitic nematodes.

The varsity don said that the issue of farmers-herders’ clashes was due to climate change, saying he could not blame either of the parties.


Expert calls for healthy food cultivation in Nigeria

By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko Ibadan, Oct. 16, 2020 Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan, says it is imperative for the country to increase agricultural productivity by cultivating healthy food that is diverse in nature. Olaniyan made the remark in an interview with newsmen on Friday in Ibadan…October 16, 2020

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New screening method could lead to microbe-based replacements for chemical pesticides

by Tokyo University of Science

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Plants have evolved unique immunity mechanisms that they can activate upon detecting the presence of a pathogen. Interestingly, the presence of some nonpathogenic microorganisms can also prompt a plant to activate its systemic immunity mechanisms, and some studies have shown that pretreating agricultural crops with such “immunity-activating” nonpathogenic microorganisms can leave the crops better prepared to fight off infections from pathogenic microorganisms. In effect, this means that immunity-activating nonpathogenic microorganisms can function like vaccines for plants, providing a low-risk stimulus for the plant’s immune system that prepares it for dealing with genuine threats. These are exciting findings for crop scientists because they suggest the possibility of using such pretreatment as a form of biological pest control that would reduce the need for agricultural pesticides.

However, before pretreatment with nonpathogenic microorganisms can become a standard agricultural technology, scientists need a way to screen microorganisms for the ability to stimulate plant immune systems without harming the plants. There is currently no simple method for evaluating the ability of microorganisms to activate plant immune systems. Conventional methods involve the use of whole plants and microorganisms, and this inevitably makes conventional screening a time-consuming and expensive affair. To address this problem, Associate Professor Toshiki Furuya and Professor Kazuyuki Kuchitsu of Tokyo University of Science and their colleagues decided to develop a screening strategy involving cultured plant cells. A description of their method appears in a paper recently published in Scientific Reports.

The first step in this screening strategy involves incubating the candidate microorganism together with BY-2 cells, which are tobacco plant cells known for their rapid and stable growth rates. The next step is to treat the BY-2 cells with cryptogein, which is a protein secreted by fungus-like pathogenic microorganisms that can elicit immune responses from tobacco plants. A key part of the cryptogein-induced immune responses is the production of a class of chemicals called reactive oxygen species (ROS), and scientists can easily measure cryptogein-induced ROS production and use it as a metric for evaluating the effects of the nonpathogenic microorganisms. To put it simply, an effective pretreatment agent will increase the BY-2 cells’ ROS production levels (i.e., cause the cells to exhibit stronger immune system activation) in response to cryptogein exposure.Play00:0002:35MuteSettingsPIPEnter fullscreen

PlayMicrobe-Based Replacements for Chemical Pesticide Replacement.A team of scientists from Tokyo University of Science has developed a screening method based on cultured plant cells that makes such testing easier. This may lead to microorganism-based crop protection methods that reduce the need for chemical pesticides. Credit: Tokyo University of Science

To test the practicability of their screening strategy, Dr. Furuya and his colleagues used the strategy on 29 bacterial strains isolated from the interior of the Japanese mustard spinach plant (Brassica rapa var. perviridis), and they found that 8 strains boosted cryptogein-induced ROS production. They then further tested those 8 strains by applying them to the root tips of seedlings from the Arabidopsis genus, which contains species commonly used as model organisms for studies of plant biology. Interestingly, 2 of the 8 tested strains induced whole-plant resistance to bacterial pathogens.

Based on the proof-of-concept findings concerning those 2 bacterial strains, Dr. Furuya proudly notes that his team’s screening method “can streamline the acquisition of microorganisms that activate the immune system of plants.” When asked how he envisions the screening method affecting agricultural practices, he explains that he expects his team’s screening system “to be a technology that contributes to the practical application and spread of microbial alternatives to chemical pesticides.”

In time, the novel screening method developed by Dr. Furuya and team may make it significantly easier for crop scientists create greener agricultural methods that rely on the defense mechanisms that plants themselves have evolved over millions of years.

Explore furtherA minty-fresh solution: Using a menthol-like compound to activate plant immune mechanisms

More information: Mari Kurokawa et al, An efficient direct screening system for microorganisms that activate plant immune responses based on plant–microbe interactions using cultured plant cells, Scientific Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-86560-0Journal information:Scientific ReportsProvided by Tokyo University of Science

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Agriculture Secretary Advises To Keep Friendly Pests Alive


Mohammad Ali (@ChaudhryMAli88)  2 days ago  Tue 06th April 2021 | 06:21 PM

Agriculture Secretary advises Bio-pesticides spray on cotton to keep friendly pests alive

Secretary agriculture South Punjab Saqib Ali Ateel advised farmers on Tuesday to delay first spray on cotton crop to the maximum and apply biological pesticides spray to keep crop friendly pests alive, cut cost and get good cotton production

MULTAN, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 6th Apr, 2021 ) :Secretary agriculture South Punjab Saqib Ali Ateel advised farmers on Tuesday to delay first spray on cotton crop to the maximum and apply biological pesticides spray to keep crop friendly pests alive, cut cost and get good cotton production.

During a visit to government seed farm at Rahim Yar Khan, he said that government was advocating farmers to prefer biological control techniques over application of chemical pesticides adding that farmers should delay the first spray on the crop to the maximum possible and when they do they must chose bio-pesticides for spray. It would keep crop friendly pests alive, cut cost and would give good production. Farmers should resort to chemical pesticides spray only as a last option when pest incidence crosses the Economic Threshold Level (ETL).

He said that the farm officials should collect complete data of trials at the farm regarding zero tillage technology and wheat sowing on ridges so that it could benefit farmers in the next season.

He was informed that plant extracts were applied on wheat trial fields that increased the number of crop friendly pests while incidence of enemy pests was near to nothing.

Witnessing trial fields of Apple, avocado, peach, olive and dates at the farm, the secretary agriculture said that in addition to mulching, fruit bearing plants should also have some arrangement to be safe from sunlight and water be applied in time.

He said “Unregistered varieties are mostly susceptible to pest attack and must be avoided and only registered seed varieties be sown.”He said that government was providing Rs 1000 subsidy per bag of registered seed varieties while subsidy was also being given on Phosphorous and Potash fertilizers to cut farmers’ cost on cultivation. He said, a Rs 4.4 billion subsidy would be provided to counter white fly while BP Ropes would be provided at 60 per cent subsidized price to counter pink bollworm attack on cotton. He advised field formations to ensure enforcement of SOPs in agriculture areas and give guidelines to farmers.

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Government gives green light to fall armyworm biopesticide

James McManagan1 Apr 2021, 5 p.m.Grains

Biopesticide given emergency approval to assist fall armyworm battle.

 Biopesticide given emergency approval to assist fall armyworm battle.

The Queensland government has given the green light to the emergency use approval of the biopesticide Fawligen in a bid combat the destructive pest fall armyworm.

Since arriving in Australia last year the highly mobile pest has spread throughout Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and south to northern New South Wales, destroying corn and sorghum fields in its wake.

Fawligen is a naturally occurring caterpillar virus that kills the pest from the inside out and spreads to the larvae.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority had issued an Emergency Use Permit which allows Fawligen to be used.

“The swift approval of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ application, prepared jointly with AgBiTech – the Australian company that developed and produces Fawligen – is a significant step in the battle against this voracious pest,” Mr Furner said.

“Fawligen is a welcome addition to the options available for controlling FAW, particularly in crops, such as sweet corn, maize and sorghum, where currently available options are limited or ineffective.

“Further research and work by industry under the EUP will provide valuable data to help AgBiTech achieve its aim of gaining full Australian registration for Fawligen.”

AgBiTech’s general manager for Australia, Philip Armytage, said Fawligen is best used as part of an integrated pest management system.

“Fawligen will work as an important management tool when used in strategic combinations with natural enemies and conventional chemistry options,” Mr Armytage said.

“Our information from overseas indicates that Fawligen it is not a strong, stand-alone solution for FAW control and as a result, Fawligen supply will be restricted to growers and consultants who have undertaken accredited training to ensure they are fully aware of the product’s abilities and limitations.

“AgBiTech will be providing a training program for farmers, agronomists and researchers who are considering using Fawligen.”

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