Trials investigate best chemical combinations for new insecticide

Insecticide offers potential to deal with resistance in stored grain pests

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An increasing number of growers are installing storage on-farm to extract maximum value from their grain. To help manage pests in these systems, researchers are trialing a promising new insecticide to see how well it works with commercially available products PHOTO GRDC

An increasing number of growers are installing storage on-farm to extract maximum value from their grain. To help manage pests in these systems, researchers are trialing a promising new insecticide to see how well it works with commercially available products PHOTO GRDC

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Researchers collaborate to test efficacy of a new insecticide for stored grain pests.

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Laboratory-based trials on a promising new insecticide for use in stored grain have begun, with the aim of testing how well it works with commercially available products.

The insecticide - Flavocide™ - is a synthetically created, nature-identical beta-triketone molecule.

Its development is important because it offers a different mode of action to commercially available products and, with that, the potential to deal with increasing resistance in stored grain pests.

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Richard Jagger, the chief executive officer of Bio-Gene Technology Ltd - which has patented the Flavocide™ insecticide - says previous trials have focused mainly on just Flavocide™.

That work found the product successfully controlled a major grain storage pest - the offspring of adult lesser grain borer - over a nine-month period.

Commercial protectants in the mix

The team behind the new research collaboration to test a new mode of action for stored grain pests. From left, Bio-Gene Technology program manager Dr James Wade, DAF agronomist Philip Burrill, operational farm hand Richard McKillop, principal research scientist Dr Manoj Nayak, Bio-Gene executive director Peter May, DAF research scientist Rajeswaran Jagadeesan and principal research scientist Greg Daglish.

The team behind the new research collaboration to test a new mode of action for stored grain pests. From left, Bio-Gene Technology program manager Dr James Wade, DAF agronomist Philip Burrill, operational farm hand Richard McKillop, principal research scientist Dr Manoj Nayak, Bio-Gene executive director Peter May, DAF research scientist Rajeswaran Jagadeesan and principal research scientist Greg Daglish.

"We are now interested in testing a combination of products with different molecules to understand the best combination ratios for commercial products and maximise the opportunity to control resistant, stored grain pest populations," Mr Jagger says.

This will incorporate important commercial protectants, such as deltamethrin and chlorpyrifos-methyl, for controlling stored grain pests.

The work, expected to take 12 to 18 months, is a collaboration with BASF, the Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries and GRDC and includes both laboratory studies and field trials.

Peter May, the executive director for research and development at Bio-Gene Technology, says the laboratory studies involve a two-step process:

  • first - developing the most effective combinations of chemicals against lesser grain borer; and
  • second - confirming the effectiveness of those combinations against other important grain storage pests, such as saw-toothed grain beetles, flat grain beetles, flour beetles and Sitophilus weevils.

Field trials will involve treating stored grain at commercial scale and storing bulk grain under field conditions.

These trials are designed to demonstrate the longer-term efficacy of Flavocide™ against the range of target pests.

This is important for both commercial grain handlers, who store grain for extended periods of time, and for the increasing number of grain growers who are installing larger on-farm grain storages in order to extract maximum value and price from grain produced.

"This new research aims to ensure a range of other stored grain pests are targeted," Mr May says.

"If successful, we could see a product to market within a couple of years of completion of the efficacy studies and following product registration finalisation."

Mr May says the ability to offer another mode of action is important for the Australian grain industry.

If successful, we could see a product to market within a couple of years of completion of the efficacy studies and following product registration finalisation. - Bio-Gene Technology executive director for research and development Peter May

"There is no single chemistry that controls all major pests that impact stored grain, yet the incidence of pest resistance is rising," Mr May says.

"Flavocide™ has the potential to create formulations that will enable control of the full range of pests, including pests resistant to other classes of chemistry."

More information: Richard Jagger, richardj@bio-gene.com.au, 0418 125 646; Peter May, peterm@bio-gene.com.au, 0412 251 016

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