In department 1 – New Biopesticides – we are fundamentally dedicated to the development of biological molecules and the use of beneficial micro-organisms with activity that allows the control of pests and diseases that attack Mediterranean cultures.
Solutions on the market that could eventually be used to fight pests and diseases are being discontinued. Due to their levels of toxicity or their very broad spectrum of activity, which may affect insects and other organisms beneficial to the environment or even to humans, the legislation is withdrawing from the market formulations capable of controlling some of these biotic factors that destroy cultures. In addition, new pests and diseases have emerged for which there is still no resistant plant and no pesticide that can control them. The withdrawal of active ingredients is more prevalent in Europe but is also starting to happen in the United States of America and other countries.
Taking this reality into account, we aim to develop new bio-based solutions, which are generically called biopesticides. They are chemical-biological solutions, insofar as they are mainly made up of nucleic acids (small interfering RNAs) and small proteins that have the ability to inhibit the interaction between pathogenic organisms and the plants we want to protect. These types of molecules are not toxic to humans or other animals; they are specific and have less impact on the environment than the currently existing synthetic agrochemicals.