New natural pesticide…

NEW NATURAL PESTICIDE…
20 per cent more efficient – new natural pesticide boosts profits and delivers higher kill rates

Bigger profits and better kill rates, that’s the promise of a new UK biopesticide which successfully completed field trials earlier this year – with 20 per cent more efficiency than its nearest rivals.
NemaTrident® CT is the first product to market for the UK’s Bionema, a spin out business from Swansea which is developing a new range of biopesticides products based on 20 years of scientific research. It goes on sale in March 2017 for vine weevil control in soft fruit and ornamentals and pine weevil in forestry.

Targeted at vine and pine weevil, the initial part of the trial programme was carried out in the forests of Wales, where the cold tolerant biocontrol agent, effective down to 8ºC, which uses naturally occurring insect parasitic nematodes (Heterorhabditis downesi) as its base, outperformed the market leader.

Later in the year it was tested against vine weevil in soil grown strawberry near farm in Herefordshire, where again it outperformed all of its major rivals – with a kill rate of 100 percent. This trial was ‘moderated’ by growers, agronomists, distributions and manufactures themselves, who took part in the final vine weevil trial assessment on the farm.

“The key to the success of NemaTrident® CT is the cocktail of ingredients we have used which, acting together, have radically altered performance,” said Bionema CEO Dr Minshad Ansari, speaking in AAB Conference: Advances in IPM 2016 in November this year.

Vine weevil, has been targeted first, a serious pest of soft fruits, it causes £40m damage to the UK horticulture industry yearly and £5 billion worldwide, and recent ban of the widely used insecticide Chlorpyrifos, also known by the trademark Equity exacerbates the problem.

“Our team assessed 17 of the best performing bio-control products and as the results were unearthed, at Pennoxstone farm, Hereford, more than 35 key potential buyers saw just how effective this ‘new’ method of environment friendly pest control can be,” said Dr Ansari.

The active ingredient in NemaTrident® CTis a cold tolerant,naturally occurring insect parasitic nematode (Heterorhabditis downesi) for control of black vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) in ornamentals and soft fruit crops, large pine weevil (Hylobiusabietis),citrus longhorn beetle (Anoplophora chinensis) and spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) in forest. A wetting agent is also used for better performance

“In truth there were no losers. What we conclusively proved is that biocontrol is staggeringly successful and, as pests become resistant to commercial pesticides, makes even more sense now for today’s farmers and horticulturalists,” said Bionema managing director Dr Minshad Ansari.

All the commercially available nematode tested provided up to 60 per cent vine weevil control in the strawberry trial, with 20 per cent higher kill rates when applied using a wetting agent

Syngenta Crop Protection acquires two bioinsecticides from UK-based biocontrol technology developer, Bionema

  • Syngenta Crop Protection AG has acquired two next generation bioinsecticides, NemaTrident® and UniSpore®, from leading biocontrol technology developer, Bionema Limited.
  • NemaTrident® and UniSpore® will provide customers with additional and complementary technologies to effectively and sustainably manage insect pests and resistance.
  • NemaTrident® and UniSpore® will be the first fully owned biocontrols in the Syngenta Professional Solutions portfolio

Syngenta Crop Protection has acquired two next generation bioinsecticides, NemaTrident®and UniSpore®, to combat increasing resistance and a wide range of insects and pests across horticulture and ornamentals, turf amenity and forestry, giving customers even greater choice. 

Syngenta Crop Protection is acquiring the patents and trademarks for both NemaTrident®and UniSpore®, and the UniSpore®registration dossier, and will have full global development and commercialization rights for the assets. This is an important step in building a world-leading biologicals portfolio in Syngenta Professional Solutions, and opens the opportunity for expansion in biocontrol solutions for crop protection. 

UniSpore®is an innovation based on a naturally occurring microorganism (insect pathogenic fungus). It offers an exciting solution for vine weevil control in ornamentals, where growers across Europe have limited insecticide options. It is currently in the early registration process. 

NemaTrident®, a patented, insect pathogenic nematode solution, is an important addition to Syngenta Professional Solutions’ Turf portfolio and is particularly effective against leather jackets and other pests. The tri-component solution incorporates Nemaspreader®a biocompatible surfactant, that delivers market-leading efficacy. Already available to customers, NemaTrident® is also used in horticulture and forestry to control a number of damaging insects. 

Dr Minshad Ansari, Founder and CEO of Bionema, said, “We are proud to have developed the breakthrough solutions, NemaTrident®and UniSpore®. As our focus is on innovation and the discovery of next generation solutions, we are pleased that Syngenta Crop Protection has acquired these technologies so they can be made globally available for customers seeking additional sustainable solutions.” 

We are delighted to acquire these technologies from Bionema and leverage our scale and reach to put these innovations into the hands of our customers,” Simon Elsworth, Head of Syngenta Professional Solutions Europe, Africa & the Middle East, said. “This acquisition underlines our commitment to build a broad range of sustainable solutions to solve complex problems and strengthens Syngenta’s position as a leader in the turf and ornamentals markets.” 2 

Syngenta and Bionema have regular communications regarding novel formulations and new technologies.

About Bionema Limited

Bionema Limited is a leading bioprotection technology developer, specializing in chemical-free, biological crop protection for safe and sustainable pest and disease control. The company manufactures and commercializes its own range of biocontrol products and provides training and consultancy services aimed at optimizing biological approaches to pest control. Our research is focused on the development and commercialization of naturally occurring microorganisms to protect crops from pests and disease while reducing the use of synthetic pesticides, minimizing the environmental impact, and increasing crop yields. For further information about Bionema’s R&D,

Biopesticide Registration | Difficulties and Challenges within the Industry

Biopesticides are becoming more and more a major part of our daily lives, but they’re not necessarily getting easier or cheaper to register. In fact, most people don’t realize that it takes an average of 5-10 years and £3-5 million in the EU compare to $300-400k registration and regulatory fee in the US.

So, how hard is it to obtain biopesticide registration for your new product?

SMEs are struggling to register biocontrol products due to an expensive and overly complex regulatory process. This guide offers the necessary insights for bringing your products to market, navigating the regulatory system with minimal fuss and expense.

Regulatory bodies

Before any pesticide can be used, sold, supplied, advertised, or stored anywhere in the world, it must be approved for use by the regulatory authorities in that country.

Applicants must provide evidence that their plant protection products (PPPs) are safe and effective before an approval can be issued. This includes biopesticides.

The term “biopesticide” refers to a broad range of possible PPPs. However, for the purposes of most regulatory authorities’ systems, these are classified into four categories:

In the EU, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is the agency responsible for reviewing and approving new biopesticides, while in the UK. Approvals are granted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), and in the USA the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for new approvals.

In these and other countries, approvals are subject to a range of specific pesticide-related legislations.

Regulation and legal background

The majority of pesticides are used as PPPs (Plant Protection Products). These products protect plants or crops from pests or plant diseases, and they are classified by the organism they are supposed to protect plants from herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, bactericides, nematicides and others.

In the EU (European Union), Regulation (EU) 1107/2009 sets the requirements for the authorization of PPPs. The EC (European Commission) assesses the active substance for human health and environmental safety.

When pesticides are sprayed according to Good Agricultural Practice, the MRL (Maximum Residue Level) will be set in line with Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 for food and feed.

Following the approval, the PPPs are authorised in each of the EU member states. The EC, EFSA, and ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) are the EU’s accountable authorities (European Chemicals Agency).

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is responsible for regulating pesticides in the United States under the FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act) and the FQPA (Federal Quality Pesticide Act) (Food Quality Protection Act).

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) set rules for the amount of pesticide residue that can be present in crops.

Alternatively, in the UK we have the Environment Agency and the HSE who regulate pesticide registration.

A key difference between requirements for the US EPA, compared with the EFSA and HSE in the EU and UK, is that the US EPA recognises that biopesticides are natural products, that they act differently to conventional chemical pesticides, and therefore the data required for registration of biopesticides in the US is markedly different to the data required for chemical pesticides.

Unfortunately, the EU and UK are still lagging behind in understanding the difference between chemical pesticides and biopesticides, and they treat both types of products very similarly – even though one is a chemical product and the other is biological.

This makes the current EU and UK regulatory processes for new biopesticides overly complex, frequently requesting unnecessary or unsuitable data and adding unnecessary expense to the registration procedure.

Numerous efforts are already ongoing to address this issue. For example, the International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association has been struggling to gain traction in the EU for the past 25 years.

Much more recently, post-Brexit, the World Bioprotection Forum (WBF) has initiated its own campaign for change in the UK. It is hoped that the WBF will achieve change in the UK within the next couple of years and that this success will make a significant contribution to IBMA’s ongoing calls for change in the EU.

Some of the US and UK laws that govern pesticides

In order to navigate the regulations in any country or region, the first thing you need is a good lawyer who knows their way around the relevant regulations. They will save you both time and frustration in achieving your goals and getting your product registered as quickly as possible.

Here is a list of the various laws that apply in the US and UK – as you can see, there is considerable complexity in the current system!

The United Kingdom and Northern Ireland –

The United States –

European Union and other laws –

  • Regulation (EC) 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the hygiene of foodstuffs
  • Regulation (EC) 183/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the hygiene of feed
  • Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2004
  • Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2002 (CHIP)
  • Clean Air Act 1993
  • Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora 92/43/EEC (‘Habitats Directive’)
  • Environment Act 1995
  • Environmental Protection Act 1990
  • Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991
  • Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005

As you can see by the sheer number of laws applicable, and how they are applied, it becomes is simply common sense to have legal representation to you in drawing up your application for biopesticide registration.

Likewise, talking to other companies who have been through the process several times for their own products, can give you important insights into the process and real-world experience.

If you would like to talk to one of our experts at Bionema, please reach out and we would be very pleased to educate you on the pitfalls and challenges you are likely to face in trying to get your product to market.

Checklist of requirements

If you are new to the registration process, here’s a helpful list of data requirements for all PPPs and their specific categories:         

  • All biopesticides must have an active ingredient.
  • You must provide adequate directions on how to use the new product, as well as safety information (including in case of incorrect or excessive use; (examples include weed killer restrictions).
  • Chemistry: including technical specification of the active ingredient(s), physical/chemical properties and storage stability
  • Mammalian toxicology: toxicity to humans, product classification
  • Residues: trial data for use on edible crops
  • Operator and bystander protection: evidence that the product is safe to use
  • Ecotoxicology: effect of the active/product on the environment and non-target organisms
  • Fate and behaviour: effect of the environment on the active ingredient; breakdown products; does it persist?
  • Efficacy and crop safety trials: proof of a consistent level of control/effect.

What is included in the application?

Once you are ready and your legal representative has approved your dossier for submission, It can be included in one of three categories:

  • Register a new pesticide active ingredient
  • Register a new product for an existing pesticide
  • Register to add a new use to an existing product.

Typical applications also require the following additional items:

  • Service fee(s) required by the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA)
  • Forms describing the requested action
  • The identity and quantity of all chemicals in the product
  • Data on potential risks to human health and the environment, including about the potential for pesticide residues on food (if applicable)
  • Proof that the product manufacturing process is reliable
  • Labelling, including directions for use, contents, and appropriate warnings
  • Evidence of meeting all legal and financial obligations.

Reach out for help and advice

In conclusion, the time and effort you invest at the beginning, by doing your due diligence and speaking with a range of professional bodies and industry partners, can ensure you minimise your time and money spent on the registration of your new biopesticide.

At Bionema, we understand that the regulatory process of the system can seem complicated and confusing. Please feel free to call us to discuss your requirements and how best we can orientate you through this process.

Likewise, in the UK, you can also reach out to the HSE – the Health and Safety Executive will guide you if you are at the early stages of product development to ensure any work carried out can be considered in the light of regulatory requirements. This will ensure the most cost-effective way to gain approval in the UK.

Professional Bodies to contact to support you:

This kind of peace of mind is invaluable to securing your registration and not overlooking issues that will haunt you further on in your project.

Bionema, UK – info@bionema.com  or call +44 (0)1792 606916

The environmental challenges arising from chemical pesticide over-use

During the 20th century, a focus on feeding our rapidly expanding global population led farmers across the world to adopt aggressive agricultural practices – heavy machinery, monocultures and increasing volumes of chemical pesticides.

However, as these practices moved further and further away from nature, there were inevitable consequences on our soils, our air and our water supplies.

The environmental challenges arising from the over-use of chemical pesticides, in particular, have widespread implications that must be realised and addressed.

Contents  hide 
1 Our increasing dependency on pesticides
2 What is the impact of pesticides on the environment?
3 How can we reduce the impact of pesticides on the environment?
4 The solution lies in nature itself
5 In conclusion

Our increasing dependency on pesticides

Since the middle of the 20th century, our use of chemical pesticides has grown steadily. Now, it is estimated that more than 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops every year.

It is easy to see how we have come to this situation – from 1950 to 2010, the world population increased from 2.5 billion to 6.9 billion, or by 174%. Even at the most basic level, that would mean a 174% increase in food production, with related pressures on crop yields.

Added to this, modern consumers demand ‘blemish-free fruit and vegetables, putting even more pressure on growers to eliminate pests and diseases, and average meat consumption has also increased, crop yields have needed to grow disproportionately to feed livestock.

These pressures have driven growers to apply more and more pesticides and chemicals, in a constant quest for greater yields, ‘clean’ produce, and a never-ending battle with nature as they fight pests and diseases that would undermine those efforts.

However, as well as adding toxins into our own food chains, the huge volumes of chemicals applied to our fields has led to problems for natural habitats and ecosystems.

What is the impact of pesticides on the environment?

The problem with chemical pesticides is that they eventually end up polluting the environment. Residues in our soils gradually leach through the ground to contaminate groundwater sources and waterways, while eroding soil quality (as microorganisms and earthworms vital to soil health are killed), air quality (affecting plant life) and wildlife populations.

Pesticides are designed to kill pests that would damage crops, spread disease or infect livestock. Yet they are also toxic to other living things, including non-target insects such as bees, earthworms and other beneficial soil microbes, birds, fish, mammals and humans.

In other words, chemical pesticides are frequently non-selective in their targets, and their application often risks harm to non-target organisms in our soils, air and waters. 

Pollinators are the most frequently-cited example of the non-selective harm done by pesticides, but there are many others, often interrupting natural cycles of life, and exacerbating the root problems. When pesticides are applied to land or water for mosquito control, their impact reaches far beyond the target organism – often killing beneficial insects like dragonflies which eat mosquitoes and help keep other insect populations under control.

The most common type, organophosphates or OP, are neurotoxins. These pesticides have been shown to kill many species of animals, including birds, fish and amphibians. Not only do they affect the environment where they’re sprayed but also pollute our groundwater supply too.

In the past two decades, OP has emerged as a widespread contaminant in soil and water supplies, posing a significant toxicological threat to aquatic ecosystems, soil and human health

How can we reduce the impact of pesticides on the environment?

It is important to remember that not all pesticides are harmful. In fact, some pesticides help reduce the need for more toxic chemicals and can be used safely by informed individuals. However, the toxic effects of a growing number of chemical pesticides, on humans and the environment, are leading an increasing number of countries to ban these chemicals.

The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) has a searchable map that shows which states have banned the use of pesticides on lawns, gardens, childcare play areas, school grounds, golf courses/country clubs, parks and campgrounds. States with pesticide bans are shown in green and state lacking any ban or regulation are in yellow. [URL link to this]

Countries like Australia have implemented a ban on certain pesticides, but this solution has led to the overuse of others.

Therefore, it is not enough to simply ban chemical pesticides – other strategies must be employed, allow the adequate control of crop pests and diseases in a manner that does not challenge the environment, and allows us to protect our planet as well as our crops.

The solution lies in nature itself

If we take time to understand the natural cycles and relationships in agriculture, we can harness that nature to help control pests and diseases, without the intervention of toxic chemicals.

At its most simple crop rotation and mixing plant species can limit pests and prevent an infestation by removing host plants from areas in which pests and disease organism populations have grown.

By rotating crops over a period long enough to deprive those populations of food, long enough for them to die out, those pests and diseases can be controlled with no additional interventions at all.

Another strategy is to grow disease-resistant plants; breeders can utilize genetic technology to grow plants that are able to produce their own pesticides (but this also has its limitations as some pesticides like those made by wasps cannot be reproduced in such ways).

Other alternative methods harness the natural relationships between predators and prey. For example, introducing certain kinds of wasps can control pest infestations without harming other organisms or nearby wildlife. This is a traditional example of what we now refer to as ‘biopesticides’.

‘Biopesticides’ present a return to nature and the utilization of macroorganisms, microorganisms, natural plant chemicals and other biochemicals that can be used to kill or affect the physiology of crop pests and diseases. As they harness natural inter-organisms relationships, these solutions are usually highly selective for the target organism, providing effective control without affecting other beneficial insects or microbes.

Their natural origin also means that they biodegrade after use, replenishing the soil rather than polluting it. For more information about biopesticides, 

In conclusion

The use of pesticides may be in some cases, but we must be aware of any potential impact on the environment, and do all we can to limit those effects by making sure that they are used responsibly by farmers and manufacturers alike.

The use of chemical pesticides can be reduced – and sometimes avoided altogether – by the implementation of more sustainable solutions that are founded in nature and do not present the same toxic challenges caused by the over-use of chemical pesticides.

Bionema can help identify natural pest control solutions for horticulture, forestry, turf and amenity, and public health.

Our innovative solutions can help to reduce chemical pesticide use and protect the environment while controlling pests and diseases effectively at the same time.

Get in touch with us to discuss the solutions that would work for you.

Biopesticides – Biological Alternatives to Chemical Pesticides: The Natural Way

Throughout the 20th century, the use of chemical pesticides was widely adopted in agriculture to control insect pests, weeds, and plant diseases. However, many of these pesticides are now known to be harmful to human health and the environment, leading numerous countries to ban large numbers of these products from being used.

This poses the question – how will farmers protect their crops if these products are banned?

In fact, a range of solutions already exists, in the form of biological alternatives. Also known as biopesticides.

Contents  hide 
1 What are biopesticides?
2 Classes of biopesticides
3 How biopesticides work
4 Advantages of using biopesticides
5 A highly targeted approach to crop protection
6 Why haven’t biopesticides replaced conventional pesticides?
7 In conclusion

An important distinction between conventional chemical pesticides and biological alternatives is the fact that, while you might think of pesticides as something that kills pest insects, some biopesticides aim to control – rather than obliterate – them. This gentler approach provides a more targeted approach that does not affect beneficial insects and is harmless to the surrounding environment.

This guide will teach you how biological alternatives use nature itself against insect pests to provide effective control, instead of spraying our crops with toxic chemicals that are potentially harmful to humans and animals alike.

What are biopesticides?

The term “biopesticide” was coined in the 1980s and refers to natural, biological substances used for pest control. The past few decades have seen various academic debates about the definition of a ‘natural’ pesticide, but more recently the sector has started to consider definitions based upon their effects, rather than their origin or makeup.

In summary, a true biopesticide must have one or both of these characteristics:

  1. A pesticidal effect caused by a naturally occurring substance or its synthetic equivalent, which is derived from a plant or animal source (or mined);
  2. A pesticidal effect induced through biological means — for example, by using a microbial pesticide to target an insect pest’s gut bacteria.

Classes of biopesticides

There are four types of biopesticides:

  1. Microbial pesticides contain an active element which is a microbe (bacteria, fungus, virus or protozoan). Although each active ingredient is somewhat particular for its target pest[s], microbial pesticides can control a wide range of pests. There are fungi that control weeds, and other fungi that kill specific insects or diseases, for example.

Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, subspecies and strains are the most frequently used microbial insecticides. Each strain of this bacterium creates a unique combination of proteins that kills only one or a few closely related insect larvae. While some Bt compounds are effective against moth larvae on plants, others are only effective against flies and mosquito larvae. The target insect species are chosen by whether or not the Bt generates a protein that binds to a larval gut receptor, causing the larvae to starve.

  • Macrobials contains invertebrate biocontrol agents such as ladybirds, dragonflies and insect-parasite nematodes
  • Biochemical pesticides are naturally occurring compounds that use non-toxic ways to control pests. (Conventional insecticides, on the other hand, are usually synthetic compounds that kill or inactivate the bug directly.) Biochemical pesticides include insect sex pheromones and other scented plant extracts that attract insect pests to traps or interfere with mating1.
  • Plant-Incorporated-Protectants (PIPs) are pesticidal chemicals produced by plants from genetic material introduced into the plant. Scientists can, for example, extract the gene for the Bt pesticidal protein and insert it into the plant’s genetic code. The plant then produces the chemical that kills the bug instead of the Bt bacteria. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the protein and its genetic material, but not the plant itself.

How biopesticides work

Biopesticides can have one (or more) of the following modes of action:

  • Kill on contact
  • Kill after ingestion
  • Repel
  • Inhibit feeding
  • Inhibit growth
  • Inhibit reproduction.

Advantages of using biopesticides

In general, biopesticides are less hazardous than conventional pesticides. In contrast to broad-spectrum, conventional chemical pesticides, which can harm creatures as diverse as birds, insects, and mammals, biopesticides usually affect only the target pest.

Biopesticides are frequently effective in small amounts, and they disintegrate quickly, resulting in smaller exposures and avoiding the pollution problems that conventional pesticides produce.

Biopesticides, when utilised as a part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programmes, can significantly reduce the usage of conventional pesticides while maintaining good crop yields.

However, in order to utilise biopesticides successfully (and safely), users must have a thorough understanding of pest management and must strictly adhere to all label instructions.

A highly targeted approach to crop protection

Selectivity is one of the most significant differences between bioactive crop protection agents and conventional agrochemicals. Traditional agrochemicals are often broad-spectrum agents that affect a wide range of species. These products help farmers to control multiple pests with a single pesticide, but they can also affect non-harmful species in the ecosystem, pollute waters and soils, and damage human health.

Biopesticides are usually quite selective in their target pests. They are often believed to be more environmentally friendly than synthetic agrochemicals since they are so targeted. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), for example, is a bacterium often employed as a microbial pesticide that comes in a variety of strains and subspecies, each of which kills a single insect or a few closely related insect species. Each Bt strain produces a protein that is highly specific to the target insect species and non-toxic to other organisms (including humans and animals).

Why haven’t biopesticides replaced conventional pesticides?

When biopesticides were first available in the 1980s, farmers tried to use them like conventional agrochemicals. However, in order to work properly, many biopesticides need to be applied at certain temperatures or require particular attention to tank mixing. Above all, because biopesticides are so selective to target pests, the right product must be chosen to control those pests.

Unfortunately, misapplication of early biopesticides meant that they did not work as well as they could. Growers need the training to utilise biopesticides efficiently and to use different treatments to control different types of pests and pathogens because they are highly targeted. When used correctly, biopesticides can be least (sometimes more!) effective as conventional agrochemicals.

Biopesticides also face issues such as preserving microbial viability during storage, and compatibility with chemical pesticides. Advances in the formulation are prolonging the shelf life of blended products and improving their compatibility. In addition, advancements in delivery are opening up new avenues for biopesticide application.

Finally, although numerous biological products are already available, many more are still in development and until they are ready to reach the market there are some pests for which no biological options are yet available. In those circumstances, for which a natural alternative is not yet on the market, a synthetic agrochemical is often the sole option.

In conclusion

Bionema is working to provide farmers with new and more effective biopesticides. For more information on Bionema’s biopesticides range of products, formulation and world-class delivery system for horticulture, sports turf, forestry, and public health please reach out to us.


1Because determining whether a compound fits the criteria for categorization as a biochemical pesticide can be complex, the EPA has formed a special committee to make such determinations.

Bionema Appoints TurfCare distributor for Nematrident® range in Ireland

Bionema Ltd, a leading biopesticide technology company, has signed a distribution agreement with TurfCare to sell its unique patented NemaTrident® range of products on an exclusive basis in the turf, leisure and amenity sector in Ireland.

NemaTrident® is a Tri-Component patented, environmentally friendly solution used to control more than 50 different insect species including chafer grubs and leatherjackets. These pests eat grass roots and can cause devastating damage to golf courses, sports turf and ornamental lawns. According to a research report conducted by independent agricultural and environmental consultancy ADAS the economic cost of damage by chafer grubs at UK golf courses alone is estimated to be £85million a year, from lost income and damage repair, and lost income by 40% of UK racecourses affected by pest damage could amount to £605,000 per course.

Bionema’s NemaTrident® Tri-Component patented solution incorporates a range of highly virulent insect-parasitic nematodes within the Heterorhabditis and Steinernema genera, a biocompatible wetting agent (Nemaspreader®) and expert advice. These nematodes attack and destroy the larvae of the insect pests – preventing future pests from developing. They are safe, non-toxic to users and consumers, decompose rapidly and can be targeted at specific pests to avoid harming beneficial insects. These sustainable products provide 70-95% success rates in combating pests.

TurfCare is a leading distributor of fertilizers, seed, irrigation and other amenity sector specialist products within Ireland and the company is constantly on the lookout for innovative products within the sport and amenity sectors. Bionema has partnered with TurfCare because it believes it has the best product knowledge and insight into the Irish turf and amenity sector and is well-positioned to include the NemaTrident® range of biological products.

Commenting on the partnership, Dr Minshad Ansari, Bionema founder and CEO, said: “In a market with significant potential, there is a clear opportunity for TurfCare to continue helping greenkeepers, grounds managers, racecourse managers and landscapers in the control of chafer grubs and leatherjackets, when chemicals are banned across Europe.”

Pat Galavan, CEO at Turf Care said: “Our role is to combine all the potential solutions for our customers throughout Ireland.  Our staff have all been briefed on the most effective way to use the Nematrident® range of nematodes to help control chafer grubs and leatherjackets as part of an Integrated Pest Management programme.”

Bionema secures new patent for novel biocontrol kit

Bionema Ltd, a leading biopesticide technology company, has today been granted a UK patent for a novel pest control kit and method that provides safe and sustainable protection from larval insect pests.

The 20th century saw an agricultural revolution, as chemical pesticides were widely used to provide the crop yields necessary to feed a rapidly expanding global population. Unfortunately, as agriculture became steadily more intensive, with heavier machinery, larger fields, and the use of toxic pesticides, we inadvertently poisoned our soils, our water, and our air, impacting our own health and that of our planet.

We need to cultivate crops in a sustainable manner that maximizes yields while not harming the environment. A ready solution lies in bioprotectants – these products are created from highly virulent strains of naturally occurring biological control agents (entomopathogenic nematodes). When used correctly, bioprotection products can offer effective pest control in different cropping systems. Unfortunately, due to lack of understanding about how to use them correctly when they were first introduced in the 1980s and 90s, they gained a reputation for inefficacy. This is why creating the conditions for these micro-organisms to thrive, and associated education, are vital components of biopesticide use.

Bionema has always embraced these three elements in the Bionema Tri-Component Solution, which consists of:

  1. Specially developed, highly virulent strains of beneficial nematodes, NemaTrident®
  2. A biocompatible wetting agent that helps the nematodes to spread and thrive, Nemaspreader®
  3. Specialist training and advice on how to optimise the effectiveness of the nematodes.

Now, Bionema has been granted a new patent (UK Patent No. 2581540) that provides this unique tri-component offering ‘in a box’.

The pest control kit comprises an amount of entomopathogenic nematodes from the Heterorhabditis or Steinernema genera (depending on the target pest), a wetting agent composition (comprising a solvent and a surfactant) and comprehensive instructions for use. The kit provides biological control of immature larval insects which can act as pests to plants, including agricultural, forestry, horticultural, turf and amenities, or home garden use. The new pest control kit aims to provide safe and sustainable insect protection for turf and plants all year round.

“The technology associated with this product is both unique and cost-effective,” declared Dr Minshad Ansari, CEO of Bionema. “Moreover, it is simple and user-friendly when used as part of this kit. We will always be there to support our customers and provide any advice they need, but this pest control kit is now available for people confident enough to go it alone, and it equips them to get the results they need from these beneficial nematodes.”

This is a particularly timely innovation, when leatherjackets and chafer grubs – both of which can be controlled by beneficial nematodes – are currently devastating golf courses, racecourses, football pitches and cricket rounds. Here are a few successful reports of the efficacy of this tri-component solution and how this can help save to millions of pounds in turf damage.

  • Neath Golf Club Head Greenkeeper Mark Tucker used Bionema’s NemaTrident® Tri-Component solution because it was “more sustainable for the environment” and says he was thrilled with the results. “We’ve witnessed more than 85-90% control of leatherjackets in the first year. I was very sceptical about nematodes, but the results spoken for themselves. Last year we were hitting 30 leatherjackets per 20cm2 but after one year we are hitting zero.”
  • Darren Griffiths, Groundsman at Constantine Cricket Club near Falmouth, says he realised he had a leatherjacket infestation when he noticed that rooks were pecking for grubs on his cricket pitches and outfield and destroying the turf. He contacted Bionema and followed the training guidelines to properly handle and apply the NemaTrident® Tri-Component solution. Three months later, he said the turf had improved dramatically and the club members were able to enjoy a leatherjacket-free season.
  • Phillip Chiverton, Golf Course and Estate Manager, The Grove, says that the effective control of pests has been a steep learning curve for the greenkeeping team at The Grove over the past three years and included a lot of commitment by everyone. “By keeping to Bionema’s plan, the results are clear to see. I was very sceptical at the start, but we now have zero damage by chafer grubs, and how we keep this success ongoing is the next step of our journey with Bionema.”

The new kit adds to Bionema’s portfolio of products for the agriculture, horticulture, turf amenity and forestry sectors. Bionema is a leading UK biopesticides technology developer, specialising in chemical-free, biological crop protection for safe and sustainable agriculture.

EU Biopesticide regulation: Can technology developers survive?

The high cost and lengthy requirements for EU registration are severely limiting the development and commercialisation of BioProtection solutions in Europe – this needs to be addressed urgently.

BioProtection (known as biopesticide) solutions present one of the fastest growing sectors in crop protection and pest control, but their development and uptake are being delayed and obstructed in the EU by irrelevant regulations that are preventing them from reaching the market. There is an urgent need for a review of European regulatory requirements for BioProtection solutions, to ensure that end-users in the EU have access to these products and to allow developers and manufacturers in the EU to compete fairly with their counterparts in other parts of the world.

For centuries, chemical pesticides have been used to control crop pests. Currently, US$70 billion is spent on chemical pesticides annually (MarketsAndMarkets research report, 2020), in efforts to control crop pests that cause $470 bn of damage worldwide (T.W. Culliney, 2014). However, due to indiscriminate use of these toxic chemicals, more than 500 species of insects, mites and spiders have developed some level of pesticide resistance. Already in the EU, almost all of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) international ‘dirty dozen’ pesticides (actually covering 17 different pesticide groups) have now been banned, with the notable exception of the highly hazardous herbicide paraquat, due to their negative impact on human health and the environment. Alternative BioProtection solutions, which harness natural enemies of pests and diseases, offer a cleaner, effective way to fill the gap in the market.

BioProtection Market

BioProtection solutions comprise natural materials derived from animals, plants, and bacteria, as well as certain minerals, that are used for pest control. Almost 50% of the microbial BioProtection solutions currently available on the market are derived from only one entomopathogenic bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis or ‘Bt’.  BioProtection solutions comprise a small share of the total crop protection market globally, with a value of about $4.3 bn worldwide, but this share is growing at an estimated 14.7% CGAR and it is expected to reach $8.5 bn by 2025 (MarketsAndMarkets, 2020).

The growth of this sector is important, as the world’s future demands ever-increasing food production to feed an expanding world population, while regulators across the globe are banning toxic chemicals that leave gaps in our ability to control various crop pests.

BioProtection solutions have become increasingly popular in recent years and are considered safer than conventional pesticides. BioProtection products are by their nature less detrimental and are more specific to the target pests. Additionally, these solutions are effective in small amounts and decompose quickly without leaving residues. Therefore, they could reduce the use of toxic chemical pesticides, as an essential part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Regulations of BioProtection

BioProtection products are assessed in the EU by the same regulations used for the assessment of chemical active substances. However, solutions that contain living micro-organisms (such as bacteria, fungi or viruses) are not chemicals – they are biological products that are subject to a range of different requirements and concerns. For example, rather than requiring levels of environmental toxicity – when no chemical toxicity exists – regulators could instead focus on the natural features of the micro-organisms involved, and possibly even their potential to harm to beneficial insects rather than their positive effect on crop pests and diseases (however, it must be noted that harm to beneficial insects is usually minimal, as nature is generally target-specific in order to maintain its natural balance).

Currently, there are fewer BioProtection active substances registered in the EU than in the United States (US), India, Brazil, or China. In the US market, where the biological advantage of these solutions has been more formally recognised, more than 200 BioProtection products are already available, compared to 60 products in the EU market. The relatively low number of registered BioProtection products in the EU is related to the greater complexity of EU-based BioProtection regulations.

Biocontrol products generally have little or no effect on human health, non-target organisms and the environment. However, the registration of BioProtection products continues to be a lengthy process. Since 2009, active substances and products for use in agriculture have been evaluated in accordance with Regulation 1107/2009. The data requirements are the same for active substances and chemical and microbial products, which often cause obstacles when registering BioProtection products. Some data requirements that can be easily met for synthetic chemicals cannot be met for microbial products and for technical reasons. This takes much longer than US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration. Moreover, the high cost ($5-10 million) related to the single registration of new agents is another aspect limiting the commercialisation of new products.

Experience of SMEs

The BioProtection sector is dominated by micro SMEs, many of which were initiated by academics/scientists with ground-breaking ideas. However, those ideas will never come to fruition if the innovations inspired by these brilliant entrepreneurs continue to be obstructed by costly, over-complicated, unnecessary regulations.

If new products could reach the market more quickly, they would generate income that would enable these micro businesses to survive. Faster procedures and enforcement of time limits are important. It cannot be denied that the EU registration process of BioProtection products impedes the commercialisation of these products.

The biocontrol sector is unique in that it comprises many small enterprises and start-ups alongside the giants of the AgriTech industry. Dr Minshad Ansari, Founder and CEO of Bionema said:

The regulatory authorities should try to ensure fast-track registration of BioProtection products based on justified regulations, promoting the adoption of safer technologies in the development of commercial products. Additionally, the regulatory system should enable small-medium enterprises dealing with BioProtection to develop, so that they can provide growers with reliable tools for the economical control of pests and allow them to supply products that meet the expectations of consumers.

Prospects

BioProtection products have long been attracting global attention as a safer approach than chemical pest control practices, with potentially less risk to humans and the environment. To this end, regulators should not compare BioProtection products with chemical pesticides.

The discovery of new microbial control agents and research on formulation and delivery could boost the efficacy of BioProtection and consumer satisfaction. However, regulations must be adapted to make the development and commercialisation of these solutions more feasible, otherwise there will be a huge gap in the market after the removal of banned toxic chemical pesticides.

The recent EU commitment to reduce pesticide use by 50% within next 10 years is the right way forward, from an environmental and human health point of view. However, BioProtection products cannot fill this gap in the market if the current lengthy, and costly, EU registration process continues.

Bionema launches BioProtection training courses 

Bionema, a UK based BioProtection (Biopesticide) technology developer, has launched digital, classroom and bespoke training courses to educate end-users, distributors and consultants on the effective use of BioProtection products as an alternative to chemical pest control.

BioProtection products are being developed and used across the world to ensure safe and sustainable agricultural. However, many end users are not fully familiar with the effective use of biocontrol agents – such as nematodes fungi, bacteria, viruses and beneficial insects and need a better understanding of how best to apply them, as the way they are stored, handled, and applied are important considerations and can result in improved efficacy.

Bionema’s courses have been developed to maximise the efficacy of biological products in a learning environment that suits customer needs and ensures product success. 

The digital training courses are designed to allow self-paced learning in the delegate’s own time – giving flexibility to study around other commitments. These courses have been written with the needs of commercial distributors and end users – such as growers, farmers, greenkeepers, grounds personnel, foresters, agronomists and integrated pest management practitioners – in mind. 

Delegates can also learn in a classroom format and a bespoke version can be designed to reflect a client’s environment, knowledge and individual needs. Each course is worth 12 BASIS or 4 NRoSO CPD points. 

These courses include presentations, practical workshops and demonstrations of different BioProtection products.  Every course delegate will develop a complete understanding of product application within an integrated pest management system, which will help them maximise pest control performance. 

Dr Minshad Ansari, Founder and CEO of Bionema said: “These courses have been designed for those who are new to BioProtection or who would like to refresh their knowledge. For example, learners will receive a complete introduction of the use of entomopathogenic nematodes as well as an introduction to pest identification, product formulations and application.

The training courses have been carefully developed by specialist biocontrol experts to ensure that product end users have a thorough and complete knowledge of effective use. By having a better understanding on how to use the product correctly, growers we have worked with have already seen a 30-40% uplift in effective pest and disease control, using BioProtection products, which makes the additional knowledge found in these courses invaluable.”

Bionema is inviting training providers who would like to partner in the delivery of digital courses.  The current courses include:

Course 1 – Application of entomopathogenic nematodes for insect pest control

Course 2 – Application of BioProtection products for pests and diseases control

Course 3 – Application of beneficial biocontrol agents for insect pest control

More information regarding  training can be found here:  https://bionema.com/training-and-advice/

To find out more about becoming a training provider or embarking on a Bionema course contact:  info@bionema.com or call +44 (0)1792 606916 

Want to know more?

Bionema Limited is a leading UK biopesticide technology developer, specialising in chemical-free, biological crop protection for safe and sustainable agriculture. If you wish to know more about Biological Crop Protection please do not hesitate to call us on 01792 606916 or alternatively, learn more via our news coverage.

Bionema Limited, Room Number 009, Institute of Life Science 1, Singleton Park, Swansea University, Swansea, SA2 8PP

Investment in BioProtection to increase organic food production

Bionema Ltd, a leading UK-based biopesticide technology developer, is working on effective, eco-friendly solutions to reduce the chemical residue on crops and increase organic food production. However, founder and CEO Dr Minshad Ansari is concerned that, although there are many products in development, the limited number of BioProtection products currently registered for use in the UK and the EU is not fulfilling the current demand in the agriculture, horticulture, sport turf and forestry sectors.

The recent EU commitment to reduce pesticide use by 50% within next 10 years is the right way forward, from an environmental and human health point of view, however BioProtection products cannot fill this gap in the market if the current lengthy, and costly, EU registration process continues. This takes much longer than US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration,” Dr Ansari says.

Despite a huge growth in the global BioProtection market, which is growing at an estimated 16% CGAR and is expected to reach US$10 billion by 2025, there is urgent need for the continued development and commercialisation of BioProtection products not only to replace traditional pesticide use but, more-importantly, to increase overall food production as the world population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050.

The Bionema technical team is currently working with growers, greenkeepers, sport turf managers and foresters by using a holistic technical and practical approach to combat the most damaging economic pests and diseases in their sectors, while helping to reduce pesticide residues in food and non-food crops.

Bionema researchers, funded by Innovate UK, the Welsh Government, the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP) and Green investors, have already assessed hundreds of natural insect-killing fungi, nematodes and bacteria to investigate their commercial use potential for the management of pests and diseases. Its laboratory, glasshouse, and field trials, conducted in UK and in the EU, have shown promising results and key products are now going through EU registration. These product formulations were tested against major economic soil and foliar feeding insect pests in the horticulture, sports turf, and the forestry sectors, some which had developed pesticide resistance.

Referring to the success of recent product trials, Dr Ansari says: “The use of nematodes with a biocompatible wetting agent, for example, successfully controlled vine weevils in soft fruits and ornamentals and also controlled chafer grubs and leatherjackets infestations in golf courses and pine weevils in pine forests. There are further efficacy trials planned over the next couple of years, which will include next generation product and formulation testing in the UK and overseas and we are looking forward to seeing positive results in the effective pest control of economically-damaging insects in high value crops.”

Bionema researchers have analysed the cost benefits of using BioProtection products versus chemical pesticides for organic and conventional food production and the results are very promising. It also continues in its research of product formulations and delivery systems to increase overall efficacy especially against soft body insects – such as western flower thrips, aphids, spider mites and fruit flies in high value crops – to meet end user demands for better efficacy.

However, BioProtection products must be applied properly for effective use and this is where Bionema’s training courses for end users, agronomists and IPM practitioners is essential.

For more information, please contact Karen Maxwell, Director at Karma Communications. +44 (0)7866 736 597; karen@karma-communications.co.uk