Microbial Pesticide

Definition - What does Microbial Pesticide mean?

Microbial pesticides, one of three major classes of biopesticides, are composed of naturally occurring bacteria, viruses, fungi, or protozoans that target a specific problem.

As a form of biological pest control, microbial pesticides are a way of using nature’s own biological pest control mechanisms to protect plants from pests and diseases without resorting to the use of chemicals. Because they contain only natural substances, microbial pesticides are less toxic than chemical-based pesticides.

When using microbial pesticides, they usually only target a specific pest, unlike broad-spectrum pesticides that kill not only pests but also beneficial insects that are needed in the environment. However, there are several types of microbial biopesticides available that can be used to eliminate several different types of pests. For the grower, it's simply a matter of matching the solution to the problem.

MaximumYield explains Microbial Pesticide

Microbial pesticides work in a variety of fashions and their functionality depends on the type of microbes being used. Sometimes they directly kill the pest or render it sterile and unable to procreate. Often microbial pesticides interfere with the sex pheromones of the pest insect so it is unable to attract other insects for breeding.

Scented plant extracts are also a form of microbial pesticide that work by luring the pest insect into a trap where it is either trapped or effectively killed.

Fungal-based microbial pesticides are used to control specific types of weeds but leave crops untouched.

Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt microbial pesticides, work by targeting the larvae of specific insects such as mosquitoes, flies, and moth larvae. It binds inside the larval digestive tract and effectively starves the larvae to death before it has a chance to reach adulthood.

Genetic splicing using proteins is another way of making microbial pesticides. When genetic alterations are made, the pesticides are more commonly known as Plant Incorporated Protectants (PIPs). By placing certain proteins into a specific plant, the plant is better able to manufacture substances to destroy pests.

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