The fungicides, unlike natural biopesticides extracted from plants, are chemical compounds used commonly until now to control fungi that affect crops.
Many of these compounds are synthetic organic substances with a wide range of toxicity and persistent in the environment.
Adding relevance to the scope and problematic of their use, it is applied annually in the world thousands of tons of fungicides to control the harmful effects of several fungi.
As an alternative to the abusive use of toxic chemicals to humans and the environment have been developed strategies of crops bioprotection and biopesticides.
The fungus of Discord
The fungus Botrytis cinerea, whose name «Botrytis» is derived from the Greek and means «groups of grapes», as it organizes its spores breeding pairs in the form of pendants, is responsible for the gray poorness and can attack more than 200 species of plants, especially those that are growing in a greenhouse, and between then to the vine.
Botrytis cinerea is a saprophyte fungus that attacks the dead or senescent tissue, penetrating them and eventually causing death of plants. This triggers huge losses for large farms and farmers.
Until now, the control of this fungus has been doing through chemical agents such as benomyl and iprodione, which will be withdrawn from the market because the fungi have developed resistance to them.
A problem that add to the use of the conventional fungicides is that its concentration should be increased as the fungus increases its resistance. This causes serious environmental problems and affects the health of the organisms that are put in contact with chemicals.
This is doing patent the pressing need of access to new products that increase the effectiveness of treatments and involve lower environmental toxicities rates.
A biopesticide with suitable properties
As an alternative to synthetic agents, botanical pesticides or bio-pesticides have the advantage of being natural compounds, therefore they represent greater security for humans and the environment.
This is due to the fact that they affect only the target organism or closely related organisms and break down quickly on the floor, making all of these features to them especially suitable for use in programs of integrated pest management (IPM).
Among the plants from which we can draw biopesticides is the tree of the quillay, originated from Chile.
The quillay (Quillaja saponaria Molina) is a tree of the Rosaceae family in which biomass we can find polyphenols and saponins, the latter especially triterpenoide. The main properties of extracts of the quillay are:
- Reduction of surface tension of the liquids,
- Formation of persistent foam,
- Emulsification of fats and oils.
These properties have made that tree extracts are widely used for decades in most industries, such as food and beverages, mining, agriculture, animal foods and in treatment of discharges.
With regard to the antifungal properties of the quillay, they act as a dual mechanism of action: On the one hand induces systemic immune response in the treated plant (called SAR effect, by which the plants develop defensive mechanisms and attack against pathogenic organisms) and inhibits the development of the fungal pathogen in pre and post harvest.
Let us now see the new method of production that does not use agricultural land or chemicals, or exposure to heavy metals.
The benefits of in vitro production of biological substances
The use of plants as a source of substances with biological activity requires availability of biomass. This causes that do not always keep the balance between their production and consumption, which cames to produce situations of exploitation of the product by a demand that surpasses the capacity of production.
On the other hand, the chemical composition of plants is strongly affected by the environment in which they develop, assuming that a problem when used as a source of production of active principles, such as in biofarming.
This is necessary the development of methodologies allowing the sustainable use of natural sources of biological substances: in vitro plant tissues to obtain extracts assets.
Between these techniques are the in vitro culture of quillay from seed and through somatic embryogenesis (Vega and Prehn D (2005)). Another method consists in the induction and the beginning of the in vitro maturation of embryogenic callus tissue of Quillaja saponaria, or the use of axillary buds of adult trees (Science and Agricultural Research 32(3):197-207).
You can also obtain an overproduction of bioactive metabolites using stimulants for its biosynthesis, among them: inductors agents, biotic and abiotic.
The biotech world leader in production of the biopesticide against Botrytis
The Chilean company behind this new development is Botanical Solutions.
The company was founded in 2013 with the aim of revolutionizing the industry of biological products at the global level.
Since then they have focused on developing one of the most advanced biochemical biopesticides for conventional agriculture to date.
Using the techniques of biotechnology in plant mentioned above, they have been able to maximize the potential of the native flora without affecting its source in the wild. This is due to the fact that their model of production is based on in vitro plants culture in the laboratories, what makes it not necessary the use of agricultural land for this purpose. In addition, this mode of cultivation allows that they can control and affect a large part of the factors involved in the operation of the crop.
In this way, through its biopesticide Botristop, developed starting from the extracts of quillay and enriched in bioactive substances extracted from the plant itself, have created a method to effectively protect the crops of grapes and blueberries from the effects of the fungus Botrytis cinerea, without the use of chemical residues. Also its biopesticide provides the flexibility to incorporate new solutions for integrated pest management programs, at the same time that takes care of the security of the agricultural labor force and the environment.
The mission of Botanical Solutions is «producing our own raw material with zero environmental impact.» To learn more about this company and its products you can access to their website or contact them by clicking here.
It is also time to discover the rest of alternatives to the abusive use of toxic chemicals to humans and the environment, among which are strategies of crops bioprotection and new Biopesticides.