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Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – As consumers have become more and more aware about what goes into growing their food, the demand for pesticides made from biological materials has increased considerably.
Dr. Susan Boyetchko is a research scientist specializing in the study of weeds and plant diseases and their effects on farm crops. In her capacity as a researcher for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dr. Boyetchko has played a critical role in the continuing development of biopesticides.
“What we’re looking for is green alternatives to chemical pesticides,” explains Dr. Boyetchko. “We’re discovering new microorganisms that can control weeds and plant diseases. We do a lot of discovery and research and development and present the results to industry leaders in the hopes they will commercialize it.”
Biopesticides are pesticides derived from nature such as plants, bacteria, and fungi for the purpose of pest management intervention.
“We’re also looking at green alternatives to reduce the synthetic chemical pesticide load on the environment,” says Dr. Boyetchko. “Many pests have developed a resistance to some of our current synthetic pesticides. We need to find alternatives so farmers have new tools to control them.
According to Dr. Boyetchko, there’s no silver bullet solution, so chemical pesticides must be used judiciously while we continue to develop new tools to integrate into pest management strategies.
“To me the discovery is the easiest part of the puzzle; the challenge lies in combining these organisms that have the potential to be biopesticides with the platform technology to mass produce and formulate them cost efficiently,” says Dr. Boyetchko. “The farmers and the general public are craving this new technology. I believe this is the next generation of pest control products.”
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