Business Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Aug 05, 2006
Agri-Biz & Commodities
Marketing - New Products & Services
Market-ready microbial insecticide developed
Hyderabad , Aug. 4
The country's first microbial insecticide, bearing the trade name Knock WP, has been developed by the Directorate of Oilseeds Research (DoR). It is ready for commercial exploitation and has been registered with the Central Insecticides Board (CIB).
The product made from Bacillus thuingiensis (Bt), belonging to the kurstaki variety, is also the first one to be registered from the public sector for use against the lepidoptera insect pests, according to scientists of the DoR.
The DoR is offering the technology for sale on a non-exclusive basis at a cost of Rs 2 lakh.
The offer includes production methodology, based on solid-state fermentation, and the Bt-1 strain, along with the data generated for registration.
According to Dr P.S. Vimala Devi, Senior Entomologist at the DoR, the technology would help bring Bt within the reach of the average Indian farmer and encourage its inclusion in the majority of the integrated pest management (IPM) programmes.
The DoR has also applied for a patent for its novel protocol for the low-cost mass production of Bt using solid-state fermentation.
t is simple, not capital-intensive, less demanding in skill and eliminates the need for a fermenter.
Bt is an insecticidal bacterium marketed worldwide for control of many plant pests - mainly caterpillars belonging to the order Lepidoptera.
It is an eco-friendly pest management tool that specifically targets insects and is safe to beneficial insects. However, its use has not gained momentum due to the prohibitive cost of the available commercial formulations.
Globally, production and market of Bt is dominated by MNCs.
Insecticides of microbial origin occupy only 1-2 per cent of the global market for insecticides.
Bt occupies 95 per cent share of the microbial pesticide share. The high costs are attributed to the fermenters.
The cost-effective protocol developed by the DoR has the potential to enable and promote large-scale localised production of Bt pesticide as a cottage industry or by medium range entrepreneurs, as it eliminates the need for a fermenter.
So far, medium-range entrepreneurs have also found the production of biopesticides difficult due to the specific requirements of the bacterium that can be met only through submerged fermentation in fermenters, involving high capital investments.
Also, generating toxicity data necessary for registration involves huge investment. The DoR has been able to succeed on both these fronts.
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