Jul. 14, 2016
Exosect Ltd. recently announced that it has been awarded funding from the UK’s Agritech Catalyst fund, administered by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. The award will be used to develop a novel formulation of insect virus as a biopesticide in agriculture. The project will be carried out in collaboration with Professor Kenneth Wilson of the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University and Principal Scientist David Grzywacz of the National Resource Institute at the University of Greenwich, both experts in the field of insect viruses.
Insect viruses, specifically baculoviruses, have been successfully used to control a number of economically important pests, including caterpillars, sawflies and beetles. Baculoviruses have an extremely positive environmental profile; they are highly specific, leave zero residues, can be applied up to the day of harvest and have re-entry intervals of a matter of hours. Yet, in spite of their excellent environmental profile, their uptake has remained somewhat limited.
To facilitate greater market acceptance, current formulation challenges need to be addressed such as limited persistence in the field due to the susceptibility of viruses to ultra violet light. Exosect intends to address this formulation challenge using its proprietary formulation platform, Entostat®. In preliminary trials, the basis of the Exosect patent upon which this award will build, Exosect have successfully controlled the destructive lepidopteran pest, Spodoptera littoralis
(African Cotton Leafworm), using a baculovirus formulated with the Entostat lean formulation technology.
Exosect’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Aoife Dillon comments, “We have a growing knowledge base and patent portfolio around the use of the Entostat platform to optimise the delivery of microbials such as the fungi and bacteria used either as entomopathogens or biostimulants. Based on our results to date, we believe the Entostat technology is the formulation solution that will ultimately make insect biocontrol using viruses, more cost effective, thus helping the agrochemical industry and growers to deliver on their sustainability commitments.”