Fargro set to launch two natural fungi biopesticides in new year

Two new biopesticides, both based on naturally-occuring fungi, will be available from horticultural supplier Fargro in the new year.

The first, Prestop, gained its registration in October. It is based on the fungus Gliocladium cantenulatum and can be used on a range of vegetable, salad and herb crops as well as ornamentals. It is suited to tackling foliar and root diseases including Botrytis, Phythium and Fusarium.

Fargro managing director Dr Paul Sopp, who spoke about the products at the Association of Applied Biologists conference in Grantham last month, said: "There's no chemical residue and very little potential for resistance. Biopesticides are becoming more accepted by growers and will be used more alongside conventional chemical pesticides in integrated pest-management programmes."

Prestop can be applied using a foliar spray, through drip irrigation, or as a growing media treatment. Trials on tomatoes showed very little Botrytis on the treated plot.

Sopp revealed that the second product is remaining nameless until it is officially registered by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate. It contains the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, which is used to control vine weevil. It can also be used to control other pests, such as Western flower thrips. "This gives growers a biological alternative to chemical fungicides," he said.

The first formulation will be granular, to be mixed into the growing media. Sopp said the product was produced by Novozymes, which marks the increasing global interest in biopesticides.

He added: "We are used to biopesticides coming from very small companies but we are now starting to see very large corporations getting involved."

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