The agriculture is under a pressing need for alternatives to insecticides for pest control. The ban of three neonicotinoids used as insecticides was settled in April 2018 by the European Union. At the same time, agricultural productivity needs to rise to provide sufficient nutritious food for a growing population. Moreover, a recent study predicts an increase in global yield losses of rice, maize and wheat by 10-25% per degree of global mean surface warming due to increased population growth and metabolic rates of insects. Pheromones, which are naturally produced by different insect species, represent a health- and environment-friendly alternative to insecticides. Dispensing small amounts of sex pheromones in the fields or orchards confuses males, prevents mating and hence larvae formation. This method is called “mating disruption”. Pheromones are attractive, because they are biodegradable, species-specific compounds, which neither harm beneficial species nor humans. Nevertheless, pheromones are still not widely used, mainly because of the high costs of synthetic pheromones, labor-intensive application of pheromone dispensers, and lack of knowledge on efficacy of pheromone release methods. Therefore, the goal of the project is the sustainable and cost-efficient production of insect pheromones by fermentation in engineered oleaginous yeasts. Moreover, this project will also research into efficacy of different methods for pheromone release. As a consequence, the hurdles for a widespread pheromone usage will be decreased. This would support the development of a long-term sustainable and efficient agricultural sector. Through a wide dissemination and educational campaign, we will raise the awareness of pheromones as pesticide alternatives among farmers, politicians and the general public.
- AgrarwissenschaftenLandwirtschaft, Forstwirtschaft und FischereiLandwirtschaftGartenbauObstanbau
- Technik und TechnologieIndustrielle BiotechnologieBioprozesstechnikFermentation