‘Biopesticides are certain types of pesticides derived from such natural materials as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals.’ – EPA definition
EPA defines three categories for biopesticides but the two main ones are:Biochemical
The use of biopesticides is rising and consumers are becoming more aware of the hazard that conventional pesticides can cause to the environment as well as to human health. This has lead to governments putting more pressure on farmers to use less traditional chemicals and regulators to approve fewer pesticides. Additionally most hazardous pesticides are being phased out and the availability of broad spectrum chemicals is reducing, which gives an opportunity for alternative technologies.
There are many benefits of using biopesticides as part of a crop protection strategy. Their low re-entry and pre-harvest intervals after application means crops can be protected right up to harvest which is also helped by their lack of residue. Biopesticides have lower environmental impact as they are usually less toxic than synthetic pesticides and generally affect only the target pest and closely related organisms. They fit well into IPM (Integrated Pest Management) programs for increased efficacy and yields and are useful for resistance management. In some countries biopesticide registration is less restrictive which allows for faster registrations than synthetic pesticides.
However, when it comes to biopesticides there are some challenges that need to be overcome. Generally biopesticides have a limited shelf life and can have limited persistence in the field. They can be slower acting meaning they are better for preventative measures as opposed to a curative method. Additionally they have to compete with conventional pesticides that are easy to use, low cost and generic.
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