PheroSyn, the company spun-out from Rothamsted Research to develop and produce novel pest pheromones, has been awarded an Innovate UK grant to develop the supply chain for a new set of insect pheromones.
The grant of around £200k will be used by PheroSyn to design scalable routes for two new products that target midges and weevils – key pests for legumes such as peas and beans. Working with PheroSyn on the project is the UK Processors and Growers Association (PGRO), the UK’s leading legume agronomists.
Over 18 months, the partners will establish manufacture, validation and distribution of the novel products for use by farmers to enable a smarter application of pesticides. Efficacy assessment of the pheromone products in trapping and monitoring populations of midges and weevils in legume production systems will be undertaken by PGRO following their synthesis by PheroSyn.
Midges and weevils are significant global pests of legume food production. Their management is problematic, and the food harvest can potentially be exposed to pesticides when targeting specific stages of their life cycles, leading to possible contamination of the human and animal food chain.
“We are delighted to be starting this next stream of work on pea and bean insect pest pheromones”, said Daniel Bahia, Business Manager at PheroSyn. “There is a growing global trend away from reliance on chemical pesticides in food production in favour of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies.
“Demand for our existing pea and pear midge pheromone products has been clear, and this grant allows us to accelerate development of the next range of products, leading to affordable, safe to eat food in a way that promotes zero carbon agriculture.”
“We are really pleased to be working with PheroSyn to help develop IPM tools for growers and to ensure a sustainable future for UK legumes”, said Becky Howard, R&D Manager at PGRO.
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PheroSyn is a spin-out from Rothamsted Research, and comprises a world-leading team of scientists with over 40 years’ collective experience of researching and developing insect pheromone baits. It was founded by Daniel Bahia, Business Manager at PheroSyn, Dr Michael Birkett, Principal Chemical Ecologist, Dr John Caulfield and Dr David Withall, Research Scientists at Rothamsted Research.
PheroSyn benefits from being part of the SHAKE Climate Change programme, the consortium of leading scientific research and academic institutions formed to identify innovative solutions to tackle climate change linked to the agri-food sector.
PheroSyn supports the farming community as the basis of a sustainable and socially responsible sector.
The PGRO is a non-statutory levy body supported by our grower members, the UK trade and also by a substantial amount of outside funding for our research work. This is carried out both on our own and in partnership with UK, European and worldwide research, and commercial organisations.
As the UK’s centre of excellence for peas and beans, the PGRO has a long and highly valued track record of providing authoritative, up to date information and project work based on solid, reliable research.
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