Biorationals or biopesticides are used to describe three types of bioprotectant - semiochemicals, microbials and natural substances.

Emitted by plants, animals and other organisms, semiochemicals are used to communicate within, or between, species. Target-specific, they have a non-toxic mode of action.

Microbial biopesticides are based on microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Green pesticides can also be comprised of natural substances from plants, algae or fungi, or are derived from synthetised substances that are structurally similar and functionally identical.

Challenges to overcome

Growers have access to a dwindling range of chemical crop protection products. If the same active ingredient is used repeatedly, pest populations can build up resistance rending the product less effective.

To improve sustainability while minimising any negative impact on the environment or human health, growers are under increasing pressure from retailers and consumers to minimise their use of chemical pesticides.  As part of the EU Green Deal, the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products includes targets to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030.

Benefits of biopesticides

Providing effective alternatives to chemical sprays, biopesticides promote sustainable crop protection by minimising residues and minimise impact on human health or the environment.

By helping to reduce the use of chemical sprays, biopesticides are helping to extend the life of these products by managing resistance build-up. Chemicals are the last line of defence in IPM programmes.

When do we use biopesticides?

Predominantly, biological pesticides are used preventatively to stop, or slow down, the establishment of a pest or disease in a crop.  For optimal results, biopesticides often need to be applied routinely and repetitively.

Some biopesticides act curatively and are used as a corrective measure.

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