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Assessing the potential of biopesticides

pesticide spraying

21 Jun 2019

Biopesticides are set to overtake synthetically derived alternatives in the burgeoning global pesticide market, offering higher crop yields and better quality than chemical-only programmes.
Georgina Hines

Biopesticides are certain types of pesticides that are made from natural materials, such as animals, plants and bacteria. Biopesticides are expected to surpass the synthetically derived alternatives that now dominate the market – partly due to increasingly strict regulation on the latter’s manufacture and use.

While biopesticides currently have a small share (US$3-4bn) of the US$61.3bn pesticides market, the annual growth rate is 10-20% and is expected to continue to rise.

Their potential has now been explored in a new paper by Dr Pamela Marrone, CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations, in SCI’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Latin America is the fastest growing region for the biopesticide market, while Europe is the largest market (35%), followed by the US (23%), Asia-Pacific (22%) and Latin America (18%).

‘When integrated into crop production and pest management programmes, biopesticides offer the potential for higher crop yields and quality than chemical-only programmes,’ says Dr Marrone.

The paper identifies several benefits of the use of biopesticides, including the rising quality of biopesticides in both performance and cost, multiple modes of action to control resistance, a reduced carbon footprint, biodegradability, and their use in organic production.

‘Biopesticides can be the third leg of technology inputs, and over time can increase the output, durability and sustainability of IPM programmes,’ she says in the paper.

This article was originally published in SCI's Pest Management Science.

DOI: 10.1002/ps.5433

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