and Commercialization of Bioherbicides
|Public Sector||Private Sector|
|Biology (dew, temperature, etc.)|
|Efficacy (greenhouse, field)|
|Marketing and sales|
The public is increasingly concerned about the use of chemical pesticides. Whether these concerns are well-founded or not, it has forced regulators to be more restrictive, often slowing newer, safer products in coming to market. Biologicals, generally perceived to be safer, offer an alternative or complementary tool for pest control. Nevertheless, the safety of bioherbicides, naturally occurring or genetically altered, to the environment and to health must be proven. Only through education can the public be won over and help influence the regulatory atmosphere to allow for development of these products. Most of the ecological constraints can be overcome by appropriately focused research; the regulatory constraints, however, can be overcome only by public support, understanding, and a high level of public and regulatory comfort with this developing technology.
Constraints to development and successful use of plant pathogens as biocontrol agents of weeds are mainly ecological and regulatory. The ecological contraints usually investigated are moisture and temperature requirements, survival, dispersal, and specificity of the pathogenic organisms. Less commonly considered is the colonization potential of a biocontrol agent affected by competition and antagonism in the phyllosphere. Understanding the infection process at this level is key to developing more effective formulations and products. The nature of the target weed and the type of biocontrol agent can indicate the level of control that may be achieved. The level of control acceptable from an agricultural perspective may need to be reconsidered from an ecological perspective by taking competing vegetation into account.
Regulations are one of the major constraints to the successful development and commercialization of pathogens as weed biocontrol agents. BioMal was registered for use in