Biocontrol is based on using living organisms to control certain pests. These living organisms could be bacteria, fungi, insects or even viruses, which attack and eliminate pests by natural interactions such as parasitism or predation. This method has been historically increasing its presence in agriculture management, due to a strong shift in consumers perception. Sustainability has been the main striving force triggering this shift. Bio formulations offer in most cases, a perfect balance between reducing environmental risks and obtaining the appropriate crop yield. In addition, it is one of the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which aims to balance the economic, environmental, and social aspects of farming, creating a long-term resilient farming system.
Bio registrations have been steadily increasing over the years and therefore it is possible to find a vast selection of plan protection products using these formulations globally. These are just some cases of biocontrol currently used in different countries:
- Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) one of the most important bio insecticides globally, a soil bacteria which excretes toxic proteins that could kill certain insects while ingested.
- Spores from Ampelomyces Quisqualis as leaf treatment to control powdery mildew.
- Aphytis melinus a small aphid, which parasites Palm scale in crops in Mediterranean countries and North America.
- Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus (NPV) control moths and butterflies such as Heliothis virescens or Helicoverpa armígera attacking cotton and cabbages respectively.
- Rodolia cardinalis a ladybug-like beetle which attacks Icerya purchase, a voracious insect in orchards.
There are thousands of different examples in different parts of the world. That is why, having access to accurate and standardized data is quintessential while implementing a successful IPM at the local level, since a there might be specific solutions to a specific issue in a specific area/country.
Homologa® stands out as the largest harmonized database for biocontrol products in the market offering dedicated solutions to extract biocontrol data by active ingredient and by product type, both specifying full details on usage. The biocontrol dataset currently available in Homologa®, includes 16,304 products in 84 countries, including 1,493 biocontrol Active Ingredients, registered by 3,256 companies, and covering a total of 1,985 crops and 1,977 pests, with more entries being added on a constant basis.