Next-Generation Biopesticides

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The Next-Generation Biopesticides programme aims to find new, safe and sustainable solutions to New Zealand’s key insect pest and disease problems.

The Next-Generation Biopesticides programme aims to find new, safe and sustainable solutions to New Zealand’s key insect pest and disease problems.

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Background

Globally, primary producers are under increasing pressure from consumers and governments to sustainably and ethically produce safe foods and food ingredients. The gradual withdrawal of chemical pesticides will leave growers with few or no alternatives to control pests and diseases that can cause major production losses. Effective biopesticides are needed to control existing pests and diseases, and those emerging as a result of land-use change, farming intensification, climate change and biosecurity breaches.
The future of pesticides

Biopesticides are natural pesticides made from microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and nematodes) or their products. We are developing prototype biopesticides that are capable of rapid knockdown of pests and have multiple modes of action to target pest complexes and prevent development of resistance. The programme spans both fundamental and applied research, and the multidisciplinary team is using the latest analytical techniques to discover novel biopesticides, and develop the best formulation and delivery systems for maintaining their viability.

Read the latest Next-Generation Biopesticides e-newsletter

Benefits to New Zealand

Our aim is to retain or improve productivity in New Zealand’s pastoral, horticultural and arable sectors, and help meet market demands for sustainably produced food. To increase uptake of biopesticide products, we are consulting with industry representatives to ensure our biopesticides meet the needs of end users and are:

  • targeted, sustainable and environmentally friendly
  • safe for food use and human health
  • effective and easy to use.

Key research targets

We are targeting some of the most financially damaging pests and diseases affecting New Zealand farming and horticulture. Our initial research targets have been determined in consultation with our industry partners, and include: 

    Kiwifruit disease caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa)
    Pasture pests, such as African black beetle, porina caterpillar and plantain moth
    Forage and vegetable pests, such as diamondback moth
    Pests and diseases of maize.

Collaborating with industry

The research programme is a joint initiative between AgResearch, the Bio-Protection Research Centre and Plant & Food Research and is funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment until 2020. Our industry partners include:

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