Eucalypt extract potential gamechanger in grain insect control

Neil Lyon September 26, 2019

A UNIQUE compound from a species of eucalypt found in a small part of Queensland is set to produce a new mode-of-action insecticide for controlling pests in stored grain.

Bio-Gene executive director research and development, Peter May, and Bio-Gene program manager, James Wade, with Gympie Messmate eucalypts that produce the compound, Flavocide.

Australian biotech company, Bio-Gene Technology, has teamed with global heavyweight, BASF, to develop a new insecticide, Flavocide, which will offer agriculture the first new mode-of-action since 2008.

Bio-Gene Technology chief executive officer, Richard Jagger, said the new insecticide would reduce grain loss in storage and help deal with the growing problem of insects developing resistance to existing pesticides.

“The new mode-of-action essentially controls pests in a different way to all the other chemistries in use today,” he said.

“That means if there are issues with resistance, which there certainly are for most pesticides, there is no issue (with the new chemistry) because the pests haven’t been exposed to it in the past.

“So, it is an opportunity to address populations of pests that are resistant to other things and to protect the chemistries we have because it offers another solution to rotate chemistries.”

Mr Jagger said it would still be some time before the insecticide was commercially available as there were further trials to be conducted before it could be registered.

“There is still work to do. With the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in Queensland and BASF we are finalising work to create formulations we think would be successful for commercialisation,” he said.

“We have to demonstrate they have residual efficacy, so that takes time. Then we can proceed to registration.

“I’m really pleased that the researchers are really excited because they are the ones who are really close to the issues the industry is facing, particularly around resistance. They are excited about the potential of a new molecule to help address that.”

The final product will likely be a liquid grain protectant that will be sprayed onto the grain as it is augered into silos.





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