Biologicals provide a wide range of benefits to growers, packer/shippers, food processors, and food retailers, as well as consumers. In addition to food uses, biocontrols may also contribute protection of turf, ornamentals, and forests. They are also useful in the realm of public health where they can be used for disease and nuisance management, i.e. mosquito and tick control.
The number of biocontrols is rapidly expanding and various products have been developed to manage a variety of important agricultural pests and diseases. Applications include the use of natural enemies and antagonists of pests and pathogens. And biocontrols also include solutions that can be used to enhance desirable attributes of plants through natural physiological processes.
Biologicals are used to control pests, pathogens, and weeds by a variety of means. Microbial biocontrols may include a pathogen or parasite that infects the target. Alternatively, they might act as competitors or inducers of plant host resistance. Biochemical biocontrols can also act through a variety of mechanisms. Some act by inhibiting the growth, feeding, development or reproduction of a pest or pathogen. Still other biocontrols may be used to form a barrier on the host, so as to act as a feeding or infection inhibitor.
Several studies have been undertaken surrounding the growth of the biocontrols market in recent years, either by market research firms or by agriculture industry organizations. In many cases, widely divergent statistics have been offered for the size of the biocontrols market.
Microbial biocontrols are products derived from various microscopic organisms. Microbial products may consist of the organisms themselves and/or the metabolites they produce.
Biochemical biocontrols are naturally occurring compounds or synthetically derived compounds that are structurally similar (and functionally identical) to their naturally occurring counterparts. In general, biochemical biocontrols are characterized by a non-toxic mode of action that may affect the growth and development of a pest, its ability to reproduce, or pest ecology. They also may have an impact on the growth and development of treated plants including their post harvest physiology.
This section is devoted to providing this important and useful information to prospective registrants of biocontrols.