Swansea to host major international symposium: Biopesticides – innovative technologies and strategies for pest control

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Swansea University’s College of Science will host a major international symposium on biopesticides and innovative technologies and strategies for pest control later this year.

The symposium, which will be hosted by the College’s Department of Biosciences, will take place from September 7-9, and will feature invited speakers from the USA, Canada, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Australia.

The symposium will not only be of interest to those involved in horticulture, forestry and agriculture, but will also be relevant to those working in many other departments and fields, such as engineering, chemistry, chemical ecology, dendrochronology, meteorology, robotics, and human and animal health.

One of the symposium’s organisers Professor Tariq Butt, who leads the College’s Swansea Natural Products (SNaP) and Biocontrol and Natural Products (BANP) research groups, said: “Biopesticides include microbial (fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes and microsporidia) biological control agents, extracts of plants and other organisms, and behaviour modifying chemicals (semiochemicals) such as pheromones. 

“They are widely used for controlling insects, mites, plant parasitic nematodes and disease-causing pathogens. 

“Increasing demand for residue-free crop protection products, which have little or no negative impact on human health and the environment, are some of the key drivers of the biopesticides market.

“This meeting focuses on the advances made in the development of biopesticides for pest control.  Particular attention is given to innovative technologies and strategies which enhance biopesticide efficacy and competitiveness.  The new products and strategies will become a common feature of future pest control programmes.

“The meeting will also examine new tools and methods developed to accelerate discovery of new biopesticides and for quality assurance.  

“Many of the products developed for pests within one sector are proving effective in other sectors and therefore, the meeting will benefit stakeholders such as researchers, growers, industry, government agencies from the forestry, agriculture, horticulture, human health, livestock production sectors.”

Organisations supporting the symposium include the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Royal Entomological Society, the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Forestry Commission, the British Mycological Society, and many others.