Bio-Pesticides / biologicals... What does this mean?
Q. Dudley asks about what ‘Biopesticides’? They are as referred to in this article- below.
Answer: Biopesticides (generally called Biologicals in Australian farming) are using naturally produced product (chemical extracts or fungi or bacteria). For example, canola oil, paraffin oil and baking soda (aka ECOCARB) have pesticide effects and are considered biopesticides.
|Did you know Canola Oil is classed as a Biopesticide?|
Biopesticides fall into three major classes:
- Microbial pesticides consist of a microorganism (e.g., a bacterium, fungus, virus or protozoan) as the active ingredient. Microbial pesticides can control many different kinds of pests, although each separate active ingredient is relatively specific for its target pest[s]. For example, there are fungi that control certain weeds, and other fungi that kill specific.
The most widely used microbial pesticides is Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. Each strain of this bacterium produces a different mix of proteins, and specifically kills one or a few related species of insect larvae. While some Bt's control moth larvae found on plants, other Bt's are specific for larvae of flies and mosquitoes. The target insect species are determined by whether the particular Bt produces a protein that can bind to a larval gut receptor, thereby causing the insect larvae to starve.
Another example of this would be trichogamma sp. usage in pruning wound dowls.
- Plant-Incorporated-Protectants (PIPs) are pesticidal substances that plants produce from genetic material that has been added to the plant. For example, scientists can take the gene for the Bt pesticidal protein, and introduce the gene into the plant's own genetic material. Then the plant, instead of the Bt bacterium, manufactures the substance that destroys the pest. The protein and its genetic material, but not the plant itself, are regulated by EPA.
NOTE: We can’t do this in South Australian farming due to the current legislation.
- Biochemical pesticides are naturally occurring substances that control pests by non-toxic mechanisms. Conventional pesticides, by contrast, are generally synthetic materials that directly kill or inactivate the pest. Biochemical pesticides include substances, such as insect sex pheromones, that interfere with mating, as well as various scented plant extracts that attract insect pests to traps.
All of the major agrochemical companies are investing in Biopesticide research, looking for types 1, 2 and 3, to compliment there existing synthetically produced products. This is an evolution of making products in the lab by synthesis and then packaging these for use. Expect to see these entering into our farming systems.
What are the advantages of using biopesticides?
Biopesticides are usually inherently less toxic than conventional pesticides.
They may be cheaper for manufactures to make i.e grown not manufactured.
Biopesticides generally affect only the target pest and closely related organisms, in contrast to broad spectrum, conventional pesticides that may affect organisms as different as birds, insects, and mammals.
Biopesticides often are effective in very small quantities and often decompose quickly, thereby resulting in lower exposures and largely avoiding the pollution problems caused by conventional pesticides.