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Protecting biodiversity through the development of environmentally sustainable locust and grasshopper control

Locusts and grasshoppers are significant pests in several parts of Europe and neighbouring regions. Current control methods rely on broad-spectrum chemical pesticides and many thousands of hectares are sprayed each year, often in areas of high conservation value. The aim of this proposal is to reduce the environmental impact of these control operations through the development of a new environmentally sustainable strategy, based on the use of a mycoinsecticide. The mycoinsecticide has been developed and tested in Africa, and its safety and efficacy proven. However, the capacity to produce and use this new technology effectively in Europe does not yet exist. This project will create this capacity, providing immediate benefits for biodiversity and, additionally, creating new opportunities for exploiting microbial agents for the control of other pests.

The objectives of this project are:
1) to demonstrate the performance of the mycoinsecticide in a range of field conditions in Spain and Italy
2) to determine the environmental impact of the mycoinsecticide in relation to chemicals
3) to develop optimum use strategies for the mycoinsecticide
4) to develop an effective capacity to produce the microbial product in Europe
5) to submit a registration dossier for the mycoinsecticide in Spain (and provisionally in Italy),
6) to train end-users to understand the mode of action of the mycoinsecticide and appreciate its properties
7) to improve the capacity for utilising microbial control by helping develop regulatory procedures in Europe.

Progress to Date
Although locust populations have been low over the past three seasons, successful field trials have been conducted in Spain, illustrating both efficacy and low environmental impact of the mycoinsecticide. Production of the product is now underway at Sylvan Somycle, which replaced Natural Plant Protection as the production partner in year 3 of the project. A registration dossier will be submitted to Spain following the fourth and final field season in 2003.

The results of this project have been placed on the website.


Scientist responsible for the project

Silwood Park
SL5 7TA Ascot
United Kingdom (The) - GB

Phone: +44 1344 872999
Fax: +44 1491 829123


Project ID QLRT-1999-01118
Organisation CABI Bioscience (a Division of CAB International)
Area 5.1.1
Start date 01 February 2000
Duration (months) 45
Total cost 1 276 210 €
Total EC contribution   741 188 €
Status Ongoing
Web address of the project

The partners

  • NERC Centre for Population Biology - Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, United Kingdom (The) - GB
  • CABI Bioscience (a Division of CAB International), United Kingdom (The) - GB

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