West Virginia University

Extension Service

May 2001

Dr. John F. Baniecki, Extension Specialist in Plant Pathology/Entomology,
Pest Management Program

The Discovery and Commercialization of Natural Product Pesticides has Accelerated Dramatically 

From 1960-65, about 600 novel natural products were identified; from 1990-95, more than 5,000 natural products were identified that had biological activity. There are two primary reasons for the increase: improvements in computer analysis of chemical structure and the development of automated screening systems. Theoretically, it is possible to screen 100,000 botanical samples per day; the need for human activity in the system slows the process to about 20,000 samples in an 8-hour shift.

 The introduction of new materials in the market is also encouraging. Spinosyns, azoxystrobins, and avermectins became leading products shortly after their introduction. It seems like yesterday that we entomologists were bemoaning the fact that no new chemistries for pest management were being discovered. Other new products are hitting the market each year. Promising new nematicides, insecticides, and fungicides are expected on the market within the next few years. (IPM Practitioner, January 2001)

 Extracts from Neem Trees Have Long Been Known to have Value for the Management of Insects and Nematodes

 Scientists have also been investigating chinaberry (Melia azedarach), which is another member of the same family. When added to the soil, both neem and chinaberry significantly reduced root-knot nematode injury to tomato plants. The greatest activity was reported from addition of neem or chinaberry seeds. The scientists suggest that these data could lead to alternatives for organic growers that need to control nematodes. Organic growers have very few alternatives for controlling nematode populations. Additionally, further research into the active components could help to develop new conventional nematicides. Many of the current alternatives pose troublesome human and environmental risks. (The IPM Practitioner, April 2001)

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The West Virginia University Cooperative Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and West Virginia counties cooperating. Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution.