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Greece: Bayer and IMBB-FORTH collaborate on insect control solutions

Bayer and the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas in Greece (IMBB-FORTH) announced the start of a five-year collaborative research project. This collaboration will seek to reveal key aspects of insect gut physiology and discover novel targets for the development of insect control solutions.

Prof. John Vontas, Head of Molecular Entomology at IMBB, and his team will apply a holistic biotechnology approach, using state-of-the-art technologies to enable the identification and characterization of potential molecular targets in the guts of insect pests. The knowledge and testing systems resulting from the project will support Bayer in its search for sustainable agronomic solutions for a variety of different crops.

“Insect pests pose a great challenge to crop production worldwide,” said Adrian Percy, Head of Research & Development at the Crop Science division of Bayer. “We are excited to collaborate with a prestigious research institute such as IMBB. We believe that this partnership will help us leverage untapped potential in the development of novel pest control solutions, bringing benefits to farmers around the world.”

“Research related to the control of insect pests and disease vectors has been a strategic priority for FORTH for more than two decades,” Director of IMBB Prof. Yannis Tallianidis said. “This major research grant will harness our technological know-how and enable further development of novel means and knowledge in the fight against insect pests”, the President of FORTH Prof. Nektarios Tavernarakis added.

More than 10,000 insect pests are threatening global food and feed supplies. Due to their diversity and adaptability, insects represent one of the biggest challenges to agriculture. Integrated pest management (IPM) approaches that consider complementary chemical, biological, physical and cultural pest control methods, have proven most effective in the fight against insect pests in the long term. The continued search for novel modes of action of chemical and biologically-based products will widen the range of IPM strategies and practices available to manage pests in a sustainable manner.

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