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Biopesticide Use and Research in Brazil

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Biopesticides are living microorganisms (fungi, bacteria, microsporidia and viruses), microscopic animals (nematodes) and macroorganisms (predators and parasitoids, insects and mites) or natural products derived from these organisms that are used as plant protection products. The demand for biopesticides and biocompatible products to control pests, diseases and weeds has been increasing in Brazil in recent years, with increases in concern about the environment and contamination of food with synthetic chemical pesticides. It is also important to consider the expansion of the organic farming area and the move towards integrated pest management (IPM) in Brazil. This article provides an analysis and summary of the use of biopesticides in Brazil, including historical information, current use, research and technology development, marketing status and size, registration process, and opportunities for biocontrol agents. The early studies of applied entomology and phytopathology in Brazil were greatly influenced by agrochemicals. Therefore, there is a cultural problem of acceptance of biological control. Along with the cultural aspect, the agricultural model adopted in Brazil is also detrimental to the implementation of biological control because it is based on continuous cultivation of only a few crops over large areas. However, this system can be beneficial to biological control when there is no chemical pesticide to solve the problems of insects and diseases, e.g. the sugarcane borer and white mould of soybean. However, the practices of integrated pest management need to be readopted so that biological control can grow consistently. For example, in the 1980s Baculovirus anticarsia was applied on more than two million ha to control Anticarsia gemmatalis in soybean. This number has been reduced to about 300,000 ha today due to the decrease in the use of IPM in soybean. A problem of concern is the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio de Janeiro, Bonn and Nagoya), with its concept of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), which impairs the access to natural enemies for biological control. For example, most research with biological control in Brazil is illegal, both because of the legal aspects of access to genetic resources and to the regulations for registration of biopesticides. However, the author is optimistic about the growing market for biopesticides in Brazil and estimates that sales of these products may reach 10% of the pest management product market by 2020.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-12-01

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