Revolutionizing Pest Control BASFs New Advancement in Pesticide

Vinodhini Harish

08 May 2024
If you had your meal, thank a farmer. This line has received so much attention in social media and otherwise. Although farming has been evolving and farmers have started adopting modern farming practices, there have always been some challenges in incorporating pesticides. Safety is one major challenge when incorporating pesticides in farming. Thus we understand that farming is both a complex and unpredictable business, where the farmer should thrive to meet the changing needs of the planet, consumers, retailers, food processors and regulators. In this article we shed some light on the new advancement in pesticide, made by BASF, that has won some of the challenges that stumble other pesticides in the market.

Farming – a job that involves a lot of strategies and challenges:

Consider some of the challenges found in modern-day agriculture:

Choosing the right pesticide for the crop, introducing it to the crops, or chances of over-reliance on pesticides and improper usage of pesticides may lead to the development of resistance in the pest populations.

Other than incorporating pesticides, other aspects make the job more complex. They include water scarcity, agricultural marketing, soil erosion, lack of high-quality seeds, pesticides that have harmful effects on humans and animals who eat the food out of those crops, water pollution, and other sustainability-related problems.

However, there are some solutions to all of these challenges. For instance, farmers should be educated on the usage of pesticides, they should implement IPM practices that add cultural and biological and chemical control methods. This cuts down on the reliance on pesticides and reduces the necessity of reliance on pesticides.

Similarly, farmers should learn to rotate pesticides with different modes of action and avoid using pesticides that are derived from the same chemical class or with the same mode of action repeatedly. Why is that so? It is because the pesticides exert strong selection of pressure on the target pests which could lead to survival and reproduction of individuals within the pest population. Over time, this could lead to the development of resistance among the pest population. What does that mean? Ineffective pesticide. Therefore experienced farmers would know that rotating pesticides is the right thing to do, this reduces the likelihood of resistance developing in pest populations, while preserving the effectiveness of pesticides.

This practice is termed tank-mixing or premixing.

The strategies involve right from crop selection, crop rotation, and integrated pest management that includes a combination of biological, cultural and chemical control methods to manage pests to soil management and weed management.

Overall farming is full of strategies and optimization to improve sustainability throughout and minimize environmental impact as well.

Safety- crucial in the development of pesticides:

Imagining the harm it causes, the impact it makes on human health, the environment, regulatory compliances and other concerns, they can potentially cause significant harm when not handled with care. Different kinds of pesticides are used for specific purposes. For instance, herbicides are used to control unwanted weeds, fungicides are used to control fungal infections in crops and insecticides are used to control insects.

Although pesticides are useful, they can be extremely harmful to human health as they can cause acute toxicity when someone is exposed to high levels of pesticides. It results in immediate symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness and even death.

Therefore pesticides with “unique target sites” are well-appreciated in the market, as the pesticides with specific target sites target the pests and not the other mammals and humans. However, it is also important that it should be effective enough on the pest population that has developed resistance to other insecticides.

Likewise, it should also have an environmental safety profile, which means it should reduce the amount of residue it leaves in the environment.

Celebrating BASF's new insecticide “Efficon” in India:

Axalion Active” is the ingredient used in this newly developed insecticide “Efficon”.

BASF with their new product “Efficon” has helped the farmers pursue redefining modern and sustainable pest control without compromising on efficacy and beneficial safety.

BASF has developed an insecticide that has a novel mode of action which makes it highly effective against a wide range of pests. Certain pests have developed resistance to certain pesticides, the product is proven effective even on those pests. This is because the insecticide works by interrupting the insect’s octopamine receptors.

Now the Octopamine receptors are responsible for the insects’ physiological processes such as their behaviour, metabolism, and reproduction. Axalion, the ingredient in the insecticide targets this neurotransmitter and disrupts the normal physiological functions of the insects leading to death.

Likewise, on their website, they have given how the product works in detail. The insecticide affects the chordotonal organs which are tiny sensory organs, that help with hearing, orientation and balance which are critical for the coordinated movement and survival of these insects.

For instance, consider these chordotonal organs: Antennae, Axalion affects the antennae where the insects lose the ability to climb, detect wind and courtship songs. Leg joints, Axalion affects leg joints thus making them lack coordination. Wing hinges, Axalion affects the wing hinges making the insect lose its ability to fly.

The ingredient is proven to be effective on a broad spectrum control:
 
  • Whiteflies
  • Aphids
  • Leafhoppers/jassids
  • Thrips
  • Scales
  • Mealybugs
  • Psyllids
  • Russet/rust mites (species-specific)

Additionally, the octopamine receptors are present only in insects, in other words, they are specific to the pests/insects and not found in mammals including humans. Therefore the specificity of the ingredient causes very little or no adverse effects on non-target organisms including humans and other beneficial insects.

It is found to be highly potent on multiple life stages due to the novel mode of action and they exhibit higher efficiency over the pests that have developed resistance to other pesticides. Therefore the Axalion classification under the IRAC group 36 makes it a valuable tool in sustainable pest control solutions. Now IRAC 36 classification system is unique because that has not been used in other pesticides before.

Key features and benefits of Axalion Active by BASF:

Flexibility in application timing:

Axalion Active possesses systematic properties which allow the farmers to have a wide window of application timing during early and late growth stages. It means that Axalion can be applied at different growth stages of the crop even from the early stages when the plants are just starting to grow.

Especially during the late growth stages, when the canopies are already closed, it would be challenging for farmers to reach target pests with the traditional contact pesticides. Thanks to Axalion’s systemic properties. The systemic properties of Axalion refer to the ability of the ingredient to get absorbed by various kinds of plant tissues that are present in leaves, stems and roots. This property of the ingredient enables it to get dispersed throughout the plant and protect against pests even in hard-to-reach areas such as within the canopies.

Long-lasting residual control:

Axalion Active remains active within the plant for a long period and provides continuous protection against pests. This eradicates the need for multiple pesticide applications without compromising on the efficiency.

More information about the product – Efficon:

When Giridhar Ranuva, the Business Director of Agricultural Solutions of BASF India commented on the product, said that Efficon is highly compatible with non-targeted organisms and beneficial insects such as pollinators. However, the product should be used according to the label instructions. He also promised that the product would be effective on a wide variety of crops such as cotton and vegetables.

Conclusion:

Developing pests and bringing in advancements in them make the life of a farmer more comfortable. Along with this unexplored pesticide, the company is deeply involved in conceiving smart farming solutions. The technologies and the solutions revolve around their mission which is boosting the agricultural output, easing the manual work and reducing the carbon footprint. Therefore we appreciate all the efforts made by BASF for setting themselves in the forefront in providing innovative solutions for farmers in Europe, India and all over the world.

 

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