Select Biocontrol is a step-by-step plan for testing micro-organisms for their suitability as commercial biocontrol agents against fungal and bacterial diseases and insect pests on plants. The big advantage of this approach is that experts assess the criteria that are decisive for the successful development of a biological control agent at an early stage. These are people with knowledge and expertise in the fields of agronomy, plant pathology, microbiology, biotechnology, toxicology and product development.
Better chance of an effective agent
Thanks to the Select Biocontrol approach, the chance of both developing an effective agent and a successful market introduction are increased. Dr Jürgen Köhl explains, ‘We initially do not only test bacteria and fungi for their effectiveness against pathogens, but we also look at the economically significant production and marketing parameters. Only bacteria and fungi with market potential are investigated in more detail in the next phase. This keeps total development costs down and makes it easier to estimate costs and assess potential risks in advance.'
Select Biocontrol method
The Select Biocontrol approach consists of nine steps. Not only does it examine whether the organism is effective at combating a particular disease or pest, it also looks at whether ecological features are suitable, whether there is a big enough market for it and initial assessments are made as to whether the product is safe, what the environmental risks are and whether the production and registration costs are acceptable.
Steps via Select Biocontrol
As the table shows, the cost of testing a candidate control agent increases the further a micro-organism proceeds in the process and the greater the chance of success. By including many relevant properties in the early stages – in addition to the micro-organism's effectiveness against the disease or pest – investment is put into the right candidates in the later stages.
Efficient and effective
Select Biocontrol is an efficient approach to selecting the most promising micro-organisms to control a disease or pest. This way of working is therefore also cost-effective and quick as it makes efficient use of time.
The Select Biocontrol approach also offers opportunities to collaborate with partners or clients during certain stages of the work. Each partner or client then contributes their own specific knowledge and expertise that is necessary for that step. Please contact us about these opportunities.
Select Biocontrol approach in practice
The Select Biocontrol approach was applied from the beginning in the EU BIOCOMES project to develop a biological control agent for mildew in cereals.
The approach was also applied to the selection and development of the biocontrol H39 against apple scab.