The latest research by Swansea University spin-out business, Bionema, a high-tech biochemicals business, has found that crop growers across the UK and beyond could be failing to maximise the potential of natural crop protection.
Speaking at the Biopesticides Europe conference in Barcelona earlier this month, Bionema founder and managing director Dr Minshad Ansari told delegates that the company had found disturbing results following tests on commercial nematodes, an animal phylum used as an environmentally friendly method of pest control.
The company set up a research programme at its headquarters in the Institute of Life Science at Swansea University to find out how effective the natural, beneficial nematodes (roundworms) were as they preyed on insects that attack horticultural and other important crops.
Their testing of different commercially available products showed that some were far more effective than others – and that in a few cases more than a third of the beneficial nematodes in a 50 million pack were dead.
The award winning company, which is building a reputation for science based natural pest control, is the first independent business to win accreditation under the Official Recognition of Efficacy Testing facilities or Organisations (ORETO) scheme for efficacy testing in Biologicals and Semiochemicals.
It is a requirement of Regulation EC No 1107/2009 that the tests and analyses required to demonstrate the efficacy of plant protection products must be conducted by ‘Official’ or ‘Officially Recognised’ testing facilities or organisations.
Bionema was founded in 2012 by Dr Ansari, with support from the Research, Engagement & Innovation Services team at Swansea University. It is currently developing a biopesticide to combat the western flower thrips, an insect native to the South-West US that has spread across Europe, causing up to £5 billion of damage to strawberry growers worldwide.
Other services include efficacy testing of current and new biopesticides, diagnostic services, research and development of novel pesticides, support of EU regulatory dossier submission and training in the use of biopesticides.
Article reposted from Swansea University .