‘We need to enhance the reliability and visibility of biologicals’

‘Sustainable farming is one of societies’ challenges’, Managing Director Dr. Peter Lüth of Bayer CropScience Biologics GmbH says, ‘and biological pest control contributes to that sustainable farming.’

Bayer CropScience works alongside biologicals and produces chemical products for crop protection too. But Lüth emphasizes: ‘The strategy of Integrated Pest Management, in which biologicals play a central role, is fully recognized throughout our whole company. Both in our company and in the field, biologicals need to exist next to chemical options. Both play their own role.’

Leverage

BIOCOMES is a mutually beneficial partnership, Lüth says. ‘It helps to leverage the potential of biologicals. To us, this partnership opens new contacts, in particular to the scientific community and the biocontrol industry.’
Within BIOCOMES, the Bayer team is leader of the work package that develops biological agents for insect pest control, both in greenhouses and in the field. Ute Eiben of Research and Development Biologicals explains: ‘We are currently working with different strains of fungi to attack white flies in greenhouse trials. BIOCOMES provided us with access to the right strains. This makes it easier and more realistic to achieve real new products.’
Within the BIOCOMES consortium, we explore techniques to culture and characterize micro-organisms and to produce maximum spore yields, Eiben explains. ‘We develop formulations that enhance the shelf-life of spores and improve their applicability. Formulations are transferred to consortium partners who carry out greenhouse and field trials to evaluate the efficacy of formulations under practical conditions.’

Integrated Pest Management

‘We are convinced that the combination of chemical methods with innovative biologicals will become a cornerstone of integrated pest and crop management of many crops’, Lüth says. ‘There is a limited acreage of productive agricultural land available to feed the growing world population. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that crops should deliver their full production potential. We explore the benefits that biologicals can offer for crop protection and plant health and we are learning how plant-beneficial interactions could be used to improve crop productivity. We focus our activities on combining biologicals with other tools of integrated crop management. It is important to further enhance the reliability and visibility of biologicals.’

Author

Ute Eiben
Ute Eiben
Whitefly in vegetables
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