Biological pesticides, or biopesticides, consist of a broad category of pesticides derived or adapted from natural sources. There are multiple types of biopesticides. Their classification is not formalized but they can be considered to fall into four main categories: 

  • Microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi or viruses 
  • Semiochemicals – communication molecules produced by plants and animals such as pheromones 
  • Plant incorporated protectants (PIPs) – plants with favorable traits added through the use of genetic engineering 
  • Biologically derived chemicals or biochemical pesticides, such as plant extracts or nucleic acids 

Due to their origins in nature, many biopesticides are considered to pose low human and environmental risk and are also useable in organic farming where conventional pesticides are not. The US EPA provides significant information and test guidelines for the registration of biopesticides. The European Union’s approach for biologicals was recently updated to include specific requirements for microorganisms (bacteria, virus, fungi, and protozoa) used as active ingredients. The EU’s approach to biopesticides is being followed closely as they are considered critical to achieving the goals of the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy

Smithers has years of experience testing biopesticides, from Bt, to microbial pesticides, complex protein and biological chemical extracts, as well as the latest nucleic acid-based pesticides. 

Microbial pesticide - US EPA OPPTS Series 885 Group D non-target organism tests performed at Smithers: 

885.4200 Freshwater Fish Testing, Tier I 

885.4240 Freshwater Aquatic Invertebrate Testing, Tier I 

885.4280 Estuarine and Marine Animal Testing, Tier I 

885.4300 Nontarget Plant Studies, Tier I 

885.4340 Nontarget Insect Testing, Tier I 

885.4380 Honey Bee Testing, Tier I 

885.4650 Aquatic Invertebrate Range Testing, Tier III 

885.4700 Fish Life Cycle Studies, Tier III 

Contact Smithers to evaluate your options for assessing the environmental risk of biopesticides, from microbial pesticides, complex biological mixtures, proteins and other novel modalities. 

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