Biopesticides: State of the Art and Future Opportunities

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Seiber, James
Duke, Stephen
Gross, Aaron
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Coats, Joel
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
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The Department of Entomology seeks to teach the study of insects, their life-cycles, and the practicalities in dealing with them, for use in the fields of business, industry, education, and public health. The study of entomology can be applied towards evolution and ecological sciences, and insects’ relationships with other organisms & humans, or towards an agricultural or horticultural focus, focusing more on pest-control and management.

The Department of Entomology was founded in 1975 as a result of the division of the Department of Zoology and Entomology.

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The use of biopesticides and related alternative management products is increasing. New tools, including semiochemicals and plant-incorporated protectants (PIPs), as well as botanical and microbially derived chemicals, are playing an increasing role in pest management, along with plant and animal genetics, biological control, cultural methods, and newer synthetics. The goal of this Perspective is to highlight promising new biopesticide research and development (R&D), based upon recently published work and that presented in the American Chemical Society (ACS) symposium “Biopesticides: State of the Art and Future Opportunities,” as well as the authors’ own perspectives. Although the focus is on biopesticides, included in this Perspective is progress with products exhibiting similar characteristics, namely those naturally occurring or derived from natural products. These are target specific, of low toxicity to nontarget organisms, reduced in persistence in the environment, and potentially usable in organic agriculture. Progress is being made, illustrated by the number of biopesticides and related products in the registration pipeline, yet major commercial opportunities exist for new bioherbicides and bionematicides, in part occasioned by the emergence of weeds resistant to glyphosate and the phase-out of methyl bromide. The emergence of entrepreneurial start-up companies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fast track for biopesticides, and the availability of funding for registration-related R&D for biorational pesticides through the U.S. IR-4 program provide incentives for biopesticide development, but an expanded effort is warranted both in the United States and worldwide to support this relatively nascent industry.


This article is from Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 62 (2014): 11613, doi:10.1021/jf504252n.

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