Announcements

Job offersmore »



Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




Spider venom could be the pesticide of the future

The vast majority of venomous spiders won’t hurt you, but you definitely want to avoid members of the Australian funnel-spider family at all costs. They carry a cocktail of poisons that paralyze their prey by disrupting their nervous systems; some are so potent they can kill full-grown humans.

Scientists have noticed the powerful punch some spider venoms pack, and have started looking to them for inspiration for all kinds of applications. Glenn King, a molecular biologist now at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, thinks they could change the agricultural industry. In 2005, he founded a biotech company called Vestaron, now based in Michigan, to use spider venom as the basis for better pesticides.

Vestaron focuses on developing natural insecticides from spider venom, either by recreating them in a lab or making them through genetically modified yeast. It’s also working on genetically modifying crops so that the plants produce their own insect-killing chemicals. Vestron has received approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency to roll two of their Australian funnel spider venom-based products out in the beginning of 2018, to farmers growing ornamental flowers and vegetables, like tomatoes and cucumbers, in greenhouses.

Spear-T and Spear-O—the two compounds that will be available for sale in the US starting in January—kill off four common greenhouse pests: whiteflies, thrips, aphids, and spider mites. Spear-C, which Vestaron expects to come out later in 2018, will work against certain types of caterpillars.

Read more at Quartz (Katherine Ellen Foley)

Publication date: 11/6/2017

 


 

Other news in this sector:

4/25/2018 CAN (ON): Sterile insect technique promising against pepper weevil
4/25/2018 Biobest Maroc opens 2000 m2 production facility
4/23/2018 Bring a swirskii army at fighting strength
4/20/2018 US: New biofungicide approved by California
4/19/2018 Preventive learning about pests before experience takes over
4/19/2018 Australia: Vegetable health gets $16M boost
4/19/2018 Rick Antle - A legend in agriculture passes away
4/19/2018 Insect screen - Alternative to chemical control in open field production of carrot and cabbage
4/13/2018 Australia: Also sterile fruit flies enlisted in fruit fly fight
4/11/2018 Spain left on its own in EU plant protection discussions
4/10/2018 Veg IPM Update: Allium leaf miner
4/10/2018 US (CA): Isagro announces EPA registration for Taegro 2 biofungicide
4/5/2018 Solution to prevent blotchy ripening in tomatoes
4/4/2018 Kemin Crop Technologies and Plant Products announce new relationship
4/3/2018 NL: "Growers feel restricted in crop protection"
3/30/2018 UK: Bee survival computer model adopted by industry
3/29/2018 New frontier to protect peppers against European corn borer
3/29/2018 Russia: Infected Egyptian strawberries destroyed in Nizhniy Novgorod
3/29/2018 CropLife America emphasizes pesticide safety data transparency
3/29/2018 North America: New fungicide for powdery mildew control