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Project description

A natural way to protect against corn rootworms

Western corn rootworm (WCR) is an invasive pest that poses a threat to European maize production. Unfortunately, there is no effective protection following the ban of the toxic neonicotinoids. This is why Austria’s LITHOS has developed and patented CornProtect – a biological and highly effective solution against the WCR. It is also natural, non-toxic, and harmless for all other organisms and the environment. The EU-funded CORNPROTECT project will promote the product’s commercial deployment by optimising the current formulation and registering it as an EU plant protection product. The next step will be to increase production and validate the product in the EU market.


The Western Corn Rootworm (WCR) is a pest that has turned into a major threat to Europe’s corn production. WCR has
spread to most of South East and Central Europe, affecting now 7 million hectares (37% of the European corn cultivation).
With an average yield/hectare of €1,800 and damage potential between 20 and 80%, possible yield losses amount to
€2,52-10,08 billion.
After the ban of the highly toxic neonicotinoids within the EU, there is currently no effective protection against the WCR. Due
to a lack of other solutions, today some unspecific chemical pesticides are marketed and used against the WCR with very
limited effectiveness. To make it worse, these products are toxic and harmful for the environment and for beneficial insects
(like bees).
LITHOS has developed and patented CORNPROTECT, a biological and highly effective solution for protecting corn against
WCR. It works target specific due to the release of the specific pheromone of the WCR. As a natural solution it is absolutely
non-toxic and harmless for all other organisms and the environment. The specific combination of the pheromone and a
highly porous mineral (zeolite) as a carrier allows a slow release of the pheromone and mating disruption over the active
period of WCR adults. It’s also easy to use and affordable (costs to farmers are € 50/hectar, similar to conventional
solutions). CORNPROTECT can be used in conventional and organic farming.
The main objective for LITHOS in this phase 2 project is to bridge the remaining gap to commercial deployment by
optimizing the current formulation, registering CORNPROTECT as EU plant protection product, scaling up existing
production, and validating the product in the EU market.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 1 345 085,88
Wirtschaftszeile ost 10
4482 Ennsdorf

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Ostösterreich Niederösterreich Mostviertel-Eisenwurzen
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 576 465,37