This year, Vestaron has been awarded Best New Biological Product for SPEAR–Lep, a nerve and muscular mode of action introduced since 2007.

The Best New Biological Product award recognizes the best new crop protection product derived from a naturally occurring organism. SPEAR-Lep is Vestaron’s bioinsecticide for tree nuts, fruits, vegetables, and other high-value field and orchard crops. "Targeting lepidopteran pests such as loopers, worms, and caterpillars, SPEAR-Lep’s performance in field trials is equal or superior to conventional insecticides. With no known resistance or cross-resistance, SPEAR-Lep works as a standalone, or in rotation with conventional insecticides as an IPM and resistance management tool," the Vestaron team states.

The SPEAR technology is based on cysteine-rich peptides - small proteins that are highly stable because of the strong bonds that the cysteine amino acids form. "With the precision and thoroughness of Vestaron’s peptide-optimization techniques, the benefits of small molecules and large proteins are brought together to yield insecticides that are effective, safe for workers, and beneficial insects and environmentally benign. These peptides are more stable than large proteins for a better fit with existing agronomic practice, but as with any protein, they readily break down into nutritive amino acids rather than harmful metabolites once they are exposed to microbes in the soil."

“Everything novel about the Spear family of insecticides – efficacy on par or better than synthetics, a 4-hour worker re-entry interval, a zero-day pre-harvest interval, no regulated residues, and the ability to spray when pollinators are in the field – is why these products are really a game-changer for agriculture. Within a few years, Vestaron expects to provide a broad portfolio of peptide-based insecticides, enabling growers to use fully peptide-based IPM strategies,” CEO Anna Rath concludes.

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