Bio-weapons

 
Published: Thursday 15 February 1996

INDIA's first home-made, environment-friendly biopesticide promises a bountiful harvest for both manufacturers and farmers. The biopesticides, Trichoderma harzianum and Gliocladiuni virens, have been prepared from soil-based micro-organisms and fungi, through university-industry collaboration, said A N Mukhopadhvay, dean, G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, UP, during a presentation at the 83rd Indian Science Congress in Patiala recently. These biopesticides will soon hit the market and are likely to cost less in India compared to the developed countries.

Biopesticides use living agents to control pathogens or disease-causing organisms in plants. These biocontrol organisms act by reducing the number of pathogens, preventing the pathogen from causing infection and by checking the progress of the disease. Biopesticides are likely to have 10- 15 per cent share in the pesticide market by the year 2000. Increasing concerns about health hazards posed by chemical pesticides will contribute to the growth of biopesticide market. About one million people are affected by chemical pesticides every year and nearly 20,000 of them die, according to World Health Organization estimates.

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