Cheap mutations for farmers

Published: Friday 30 September 1994

IARI scientist V L Chopra (Credit: T C Malhotra /CSE)Indian agriculturists have evolved indigenous technology for producing stable and cost-effective biopesticides. These cellular pesticides, based on mutations of the toxic Bt gene, are cheaper and more stable in field conditions than the conventional patented Bt gene-based biopesticides being manufactured by multinational corporations. Besides, the conventional pesticides require repeated spraying as they are easily degraded when exposed to sunlight.

The pesticides developed indigenously by a team of biotechnologists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) headed by V L Chopra, are cost-effective and better suited to commercial production because they do not require batch fermentation for multiplication. They are also more stable because of the cell wall that guards them against sunlight. IARI's technology for producing these biopesticides is now available for commercial exploitation.

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