Society places a high value on preserving the environment and on the safety of the food and water supply. The increasing demand for very low or undetectable pesticide residues on food plants and in groundwater supplies has caused a sharp decline in the types of nematicides that can be applied to soil. As a result, some nematicides have been voluntarily withdrawn from the market.
Following the Montreal Protocol
, the U.S. has committed to phase out the agricultural use of methyl bromide. This is a major loss to growers’ arsenal of nematode control products. The cost of producing new products is high enough – as much as $50 million for toxicity and environmental impact testing – that many U.S. chemical manufacturers have discontinued research and development and been slow to introduce new products. Many agricultural systems, such as golf courses, home gardens, commercial greenhouses and horticultural crops have few nematode control products available due to safety and environmental concerns. The demand from these industries for effective alternative methods of plant parasitic nematode control is increasing and few alternatives are present to meet these demands.
There is clearly a need for development and commercialization of cost-effective and reliable nematode control products to meet the demand of growers. Pasteuria Bioscience has the solution: a group of bacterial parasites of nematodes, Pasteuria spp. They have been recognized for decades as promising control agents for plant-parasitic nematodes but commercial development was thwarted by a lack of cost-effective production methods. The breakthrough technology developed by Pasteuria Bioscience now makes this production possible and paves the way for a new class of nematode control agents.