Pheromones, used by insects for communication, can be used to lure and trap pests. PheroSyn, a spin-out from Rothamsted Research, was featured in the REAP 2020 Start-up Showcase – it has work has progressed it was awarded an Innovate UK grant (£200k) to develop the supply chain for a new set of insect pheromones to tackle midges and weevils.
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.
PheroSyn, developers and produces of novel pest pheromones, will use the grant to design scalable routes for two new products that target midges and weevils. It will work closely on the project with 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.
Daniel Bahia, Business Manager at PheroSyn, says: “We are delighted to be starting this next stream of work on pea and bean insect pest pheromones. 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.”
Becky Howard, R&D Manager at PGRO, comments: “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”.
Find out more about REAP 2021 and the Start-up Showcase 2021. There will be an opportunity to chat to PheroSyn in the exhibition at REAP 2021.
REAP 2021: Changing Time(s) for Agriculture – 10th November 2021
Imagine a world where agriculture is not constrained by time. The ability to manage and manipulate time is increasing and REAP 2021 will explore the advances in technology and breakthroughs in science that is making this possible.
REAP brings together people from across the agri-tech ecosystem who believe that innovation is the engine for change. The conference bridges the gap between producer needs and technology solutions and showcases exciting agri-tech start-ups.