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Reducing the Impact of Pesticides on Beneficial Insects

15 December 2013

Rothamsted Research scientists are partners in an EU-funded network aiming to reduce the impact of pesticides on pollinators such as bees.

The European Commission has awarded a consortium of research organisations, including Rothamsted Research and companies, some €1 million ($1.4 million) to develop insecticide synergists for agricultural, household and public health use. The EcoSyn project is aimed at cutting the amount of insecticides used to reduce their impact on beneficial insects such as bees. Rothamsted Research, which receives strategic funding from the BBSRC, is one of the 9 international partners in this project.

Professor Linda Field, of Rothamsted Research said: "We are delighted to participate in the EcoSyn project and contribute our knowledge and expertise on insecticide metabolism and resistance. Together with Graham Moores of ApresLabs, who pioneered the use of synergists to overcome resistance, we will work on enzyme/synergist interactions for this project".

In the EcoSyn project as a whole synergists with new molecular structures will be designed, synthesised and evaluated on pests and beneficial insects using laboratory assays and field trials. The synthesis of these synergists will be evaluated with the aim of achieving an economically feasible industrial process.

The project involves the development of strategies to use the synergists to control insect pests while preserving beneficial insects. It has "significant scientific, economic and social impact as part of sustainable food production and disease control", the consortium points out.

The research will be covered by global patent and licensing agreements. The project is being co-ordinated by Dr Valerio Borzatta from the Italian agrochemical company, Endura. Other members of the consortium include AgChem Access (UK), Ankara Advanced Technologies Investment (Turkey), Babolna Bio (Hungary), Dewar Crop Protection (UK), Rothamsted Research (UK), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy) and Vyzkumny Ustav Vcelarsky (Czech Republic).

December 2013

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