Ag Tech News
CSIR-NCL signs Technology Licensing Agreement with Pheromones Biotech LLP
CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL), Pune signed a Technology Licensing Agreement with the Pheromones Biotech LLP, Hyderabad on May 3, 2019 at CSIR-NCL for the development of an eco-friendly technology for the pest management without toxic pesticides.
Pest attack results in a loss of food produce worth US$ 470 B globally. Pests are conventionally managed by spraying pesticides that could pollute soil and ground water. Farmers typically use what are called ‘broad spectrum’ pesticides that cannot distinguish between pests and helpful insects, killing both. Further, use of excessive pesticides results in contamination of soil and ground water, causing severe environmental problems.
Pest control using sex pheromones is a revolutionary technology to selectively treat pests, without the use of pesticides and without harming helpful insects. Pheromones are chemicals secreted by pests to attract mates. When pheromones are coated on plants, pests can no longer locate their mates and cannot breed, thus drastically controlling the pest population and in turn protecting plants. This environmentally friendly technology eliminates the need for harmful pesticides. Hyderabad-based Pheromones Biotech LLP has partnered with Pune-based CSIRNational Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL) to develop a first-of-its-kind sex pheromone technology.
Pheromones Biotech LLP has developed pheromones for over 300 pests, and CSIR-NCL has developed technology for effective delivery of pheromones in fields. One of the major problems with delivery of agrochemicals in fields is that they get washed off by rain or dew. CSIR-NCL's technology uses food-grade, plant-based materials that help stick the pheromone onto plant surfaces such that they are not easily removed. This increases the efficacy and minimizes wastage of expensive pheromones. This technology is envisaged to be deployed as a ‘No pump No spray’ technology that is well suited for Indian conditions. The Pheromones Biotech LLP/CSIR-NCL collaboration will commercialize solutions for Fall Army Worm, Pink Boll Worm and Helicoverpa that infest corn, cotton and several other crops. This approach represents a paradigm shift in the way agricultural pest management is practiced.
This CSIR-NCL technology was developed by a group led by Dr. Guruswamy Kumaraswamy, Scientist, Polymer Science and Engineering Division, CSIR-NCL. Dr. Guruswamy commented that the CSIR-NCL technology worked by changing how the plant surface was wetted. He said,“This technology represents a radically new way of delivering agrochemicals to plants and is ideal for pheromone delivery. Going beyond this application, changing surface characteristics, which is what our technology does has much wider use. We envisage that this technology will also find use in applications such as advanced printing methods." Dr. Ulhas Kharul, Chair of Polymer Science and Engineering at CSIR-NCL said, “The collaboration with Pheromones Biotech LLP follows CSIR-NCL’s tradition of developing practical technological solutions based on cutting-edge science. This is in line with the laboratory’s vision – to advance chemical science and practise it for the good of the people.”
Dr. Markandeya Gorantla, MD of Pheromones Biotech LLP, said, “We are excited by the partnership with CSIR-NCL. With this collaboration, Pheromones Biotech LLP can offer a unique Made in India technology that will be a boon to farmers in India and all over the world.”
CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL, http://www.ncl-india.org), Pune India is a research, development and consulting organization with a focus on chemistry and chemical engineering. It has a successful record of research partnership with industry. NCL is a flagship laboratory of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR, www.csir.res.in) which is the largest network of publicly funded research institute in India.
Pheromones Biotech LLP is a Hyderabad based company that specializes in semio-chemical solutions for pest management. They have developed pheromone technologies specific to over 300 pests. They have exclusive worldwide licenses for a technology that can coat plants with sex pheromones/ semio-chemicals. Pheromones Biotech LLP acknowledges financial and technical support from DBT- BIRAC, DST, JNCASR, ICAR- NBAIR and CSIR-CSIR-NCL.