Biopesticides are pesticides made from natural materials like bacteria, animals, plants, and some minerals. Canola oil and baking soda, for instance, are Biopesticides because they can be used as pesticides. There were approximately 780 registered Biopesticides products and 195 registered active ingredients at the end of 2001.
Biopesticides fall into three major classes:
- Microbial Pesticides:
Microbial pesticides contain a microorganism like a bacterium, fungus, virus, or protozoan as their active ingredient. Microbial pesticides have the ability to control a wide variety of pests, but each active ingredient is very specific to the pest it is intended to kill. Fungi, for example, kill specific insects and control particular weeds. The most frequently used microbial pesticides are strains and subspecies of Bacillus thuringiensis. This bacterium specifically kills a few related insect larvae species and produces distinct proteins in each strain.
- Plant-Incorporated-Protectants (PIPs):
Plant-Incorporated-Protectants (PIPs) are pesticides made from genetic material incorporated into the plant. These substances are referred to as pesticides. By taking the gene, scientists can, for instance, incorporate the gene for the Bt pesticides protein into the plant's own genetic material. The plant, not the bacterium, produces the substance that kills the pest. The protein and its genetic material are regulated by the EPA, but not the plant itself.
- Biochemical Pesticides:
Substances that naturally occur and control pests through non-toxic mechanisms are known as biochemical pesticides. Conventional pesticides, on the other hand, typically consist of synthetic substances that kill or incapacitate the pest immediately. Insect sex pheromones, which prevent insects from mating, and various scented plant extracts, which attract insects to traps, are examples of biochemical pesticides. Because it can sometimes be difficult to tell, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a special committee to decide whether a substance meets the criteria for being classified as a biochemical pesticide.
Need for Biopesticides:
Since a long time ago, farmers have been using pesticides (chemicals) to control pests and eradicate plant diseases. Between 1950 and 2000, it has been estimated that the price of chemical pesticides increased by 250 to 3,000 times. As a result, it is beyond the means of India's resource-poor farmers, particularly those who cultivate high-risk rainfed crops and cannot afford to invest in costly chemical pesticides. On the other hand, the cost of biological control agents will be well within their means, and the cost would be even lower given that these agents live on in nature and control the pest's subsequent generations. Pesticides based on hazardous petroleum are expensive, and some of them are now losing their effectiveness due to the development of resistant strains. Pesticides can't break down and pollute the environment in some cases.
Advantages of Using Biopesticides:
- Most of the time, Biopesticides are less harmful than conventional pesticides.
- In contrast to broad-spectrum, conventional pesticides, which may affect organisms as diverse as birds, insects, and mammals, Biopesticides typically only affect the target pest and closely related organisms.
- Biopesticides frequently only have a limited effect and rapidly decompose, reducing exposures and largely avoiding the pollution issues brought on by conventional pesticides.
- Biopesticides can significantly reduce the amount of conventional pesticides used in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs while maintaining high crop yields.
- However, effective use of Biopesticides necessitates extensive pest management knowledge.
Plant materials naturally occur in these quantities. Botanical pesticides can be crudely prepared from ground plant parts to produce a dust or powder that can be used full strength or diluted in a carrier like clay, talc, or diatomaceous earth in their simplest form. Dust from the Pyrethrum daisy flower, cube roots (rotenone), Sabadilla seeds, Ryania stems, or neem leaves, fruit, or bark, and water extracts or organic solvent extracts of the insecticidal component of plants are examples of such preparations.