Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Enhanced control of agricultural insect pests

Insect pests may cause severe damage to agricultural crops and transmit human and animal diseases. Researchers have invented a way to enhance insecticide efficacy to control these hazardous pests.
Enhanced control of agricultural insect pests
Chemical insecticides have been used to control insect pests for many decades, and they remain essential for affordable food and reliable disease control. Unfortunately, world-wide use of synthetic insecticides over many years has led to increased resistance to insecticides and contributed to environmental contamination.

One way to reduce insecticide use without compromising control is to use a synergist in combination with an insecticide. Synergists are themselves non-toxic at the dose applied, but act by increasing the effectiveness of the insecticides with which they are combined.

The EU-funded ECOSYN (Ecofriendly synergists for insecticide formulations) initiative set out to develop eco-friendly synergists to make insecticides more effective thereby reducing the adverse effects of these insecticides on beneficial insects such as bees. The researchers developed and tested the new synergists on agriculturally important insect pests.

ECOSYN characterised the interactions of chemical structures against the defence enzymes from insects such as Myzus persicae and Bemisia tabaci. The researchers then used these chemical structures to develop optimal synergists.

The research team tested the newly developed synergists together with commercial insecticides on insects in the laboratory. They then moved the trials to glasshouse and semi-field conditions for further testing.

ECOSYN developed two novel safe and effective synergists with the potential to be used in industry. The researchers showed that the synergists could at least halve the dose of insecticide needed in a field, with major cost implications.

These results go a long way in enhancing sustainable food production and disease control by reducing pesticide use. They will also help to reduce the environmental impact of chemical pesticides.

Related information


Pest insects, agricultural crops, insecticide, disease control, synergists, ECOSYN
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