Scientists have recently established that pesticides do not always have to be deadly and chemical. Although slightly more expensive than conventional ones, the new biopesticides, called “Green Muscle” are made from fungi, insects or other plants and are considered to be “the way to go” in the conventional agricultural industry.
Yet again, biomimicry has played a crucial role in the development of a new invention. Imitating nature’s solutions to protect plants from pest attacks, researchers have developed the biopesticides, which redirect the sophisticated strategies that species have evolved.
The biopesticide is made through suspension of spores of the Metarhizium anisopliae fungus. After being ingested by the pest, the fungi start growing inside the locus and produce a toxin. This toxin drains the strength of the invader, making it an easy prey.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now working on developing a new approach to cutting costs of formulating pest-killing fungi. The approach called “liquid culture fermentation” aims to reduce material costs and increase the yields of insect-killing fungi.
Soybean flour or cottonseed meal can be used in the process of fermentation, bringing down the cost of fungus production enormously.
This new biopesticide is much cheaper to make than any other made over the past decades. The researchers are convinced that this will allow mass production and use.