A major criticism of chemical pesticides is that they leave residue on fruits, vegetables, grain crops, and other plants they protect from insect pests. There is concern that ingesting these chemicals poses a threat to human health. This concern drives the popularity of organic fruits and veggies, but is also driving demand for “green” pesticides that employ natural fungi or bacteria that control pests without leaving harmful residues.
World Food News recently published an article stating that nearly two-thirds of the grocery fruits and veggies tested by the USDA in 2013 had high pesticide levels even after being washed and peeled. The five dirtiest fruits and veggies are potatoes, green leafy vegetables like lettuce and kale, apples and pears, peaches, and celery.
One way to avoid “dirty” produce is to buy organic, which is not within the financial realm of all consumers. The other solution is to use biopesticides, and an increasing number of growers are recognizing this. Experts predict that the biopesticide market will reach $5 billion by 2020.
This is an enormous opportunity for companies that manufacture and market biopesticides. However, adoption is stymied to some degree because biopesticides’ performance is compromised by exposure to UV radiation in sunlight.
EcoPesticides’ eShield™ microencapsulation technology could provide the solution growers are looking for. eShield is designed as a protective coating for biopesticides that effectively shields the fungus or bacteria from UV radiation, thus extending the potency and performance of the biopesticide. eShield is made from “green” ingredients and thus does no harm to the environment. In tests to date, fungal spores with eShield show sustained protection and lethality to pests over unprotected spores.
eShield™ microencapsulation technology is suitable for protecting biopesticides with Beauveria, a fungus that is effective against a wide variety of pests that destroy fruits, vegetables, other grain and food crops, and ornamental flowers. Beauveria controls grasshoppers, mole and Morman crickets, aphids, mealy bugs, weevils, leaf-eating insects, and many more.
eShield technology is currently in development and EcoPesticides is making tremendous progress. Our goal is makers of biopesticides used to protect food crops will work with us to secure further validation and ultimately commercialization so that the world’s consumers can buy fruits and veggies that are free of chemical residue, and therefore, safe and nutritious.