CHAP’s fungal biopesticide development laboratory is located at CABI in Egham, Surrey. It tests and screens for potential new fungal biopesticides to treat existing and emerging pests and diseases affecting crops grown by farmers in the UK and beyond.
The laboratory will mean that pesticide companies and biopesticide manufacturers will be able to quickly develop new biopesticides which will provide more options for farmers. This is particularly important because of the ban of some chemical pesticides, chemical resistance and a lack of alternatives.
As more chemical pesticides are banned for use, the demand for biological control has never been greater. Biopesticides are derived from natural organisms such as certain fungi, plants and bacteria.
Using the very latest technology including temperature controlled shakers, incubators and computer-controlled spraying apparatus, the samples which perform well, are taken forward to mass production and formulation studies to determine whether they successfully act as commercially viable pathogens against a range of insect pests.
Following the EU banning of neonicotinoid insecticide seed dressing, which led to a sharp rise in cabbage flea stem beetle damage, farmers and the agrichemical industry urgently need to find an alternative such as a fungal pathogen solution. In addition to the Fungal Biopesticide Development Laboratory which is examining possible solutions, the CHAPS molecular diagnostics lab is also looking into how the cabbage stem flea beetle reacts to pesticides.
Farmers now have access to fewer chemical products so the demand for biological controls has never been greater.