Marrone touts biopesticide advantages

Biopesticides can be used alone or in a rotation or tank-mix with conventional chemistries to increase crop yields, improve crop quality, and enhance plant health.

Biopesticides offer advantages and solutions in crop production, says Pam Marrone, CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations based in Davis, Calif.

Marrone Bio Innovations recently conducted its first online webinar on biopesticides in cooperation with Western Farm Press–Penton Media. (To view the webinar, go to or

“Biopesticides can be used alone or in a rotation or tank-mix with conventional chemistries to increase crop yields, improve crop quality, and enhance plant health,” Marrone says.

Other biopesticide benefits include the reduced development of product resistance.

“Many biopesticides have a complex mode of action which makes biopesticides perfect resistance prevention partners,” Marrone says. “Biopesticides extend the life of conventional pesticides and help preserve the current tools in the grower’s toolbox.”

Today, biopesticides are utilized in conventional and organic agriculture. About 90 percent of biopesticides are used in conventional production.

Biopesticides are available in two classes: microbial and biochemical. Microbials include fungi, mold, bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Biochemicals include pheromones, plant extracts, soaps, and fatty acids.

Biopesticides are an estimated $2 billion industry; a market growing by 15 percent annually. Biopesticides are tightly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA currently registers more biopesticides than conventional products.

“Bringing a new conventional chemical to market can take 10 years at a cost of $200 million to $250 million,” Marrone said. “Biopesticide development takes about three years at a $3 million to $5 million cost.”

Results from the Biopesticide Industry Alliance Survey reveal the number one reason for biopesticide use is environmental safety.

“Biopesticides should be used because they work, add value, and can increase the performance of the grower’s pest management program,” Marrone said.

Biopesticides are successfully used in fruit, nuts, vegetables, and row crops. A study by Louisiana State University showed the biopesticide Regalia, a Marrone Bio Innovations biopesticide, tank mixed with a well known conventional product in soybeans, increased yields versus the chemical product used alone.

Marrone executives said they were pleased with the number and diversity of participants in the webinar. Participants have included growers, PCAs, university faculty, and representatives from global agrichemical companies. “This is clear evidence of the growing interest in using biopesticides in production agriculture,” one said.

Online resources on biopesticides are available at and


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