BtBooster as a Biopesticide Potentiator
Insecticidal efficacy is a major insecticide market driver. In 2004, InsectiGen"
announced a scientific breakthrough, BtBooster", a new technology that enhances the
performance of the leading biopesticide, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). BtBooster" is a
peptide obtained from a cadherin-like protein of Manduca sexta (tobacco hornworm) and
has no known or predicted toxicity to living organisms. It has no homology to any
toxins. Yet BtBooster" can synergize the potency of existing Bt toxins and has potential
as an additive to current Bt biopesticides. Ongoing Phase I research has demonstrated
that BtBooster" enhances commercial Bt formulations on plants and overcomes Bt
resistance in a Bt-resistant strain of Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth). Proposed
Phase II research has three objectives: (1) conduct field trials to determine BtBooster"
efficacy with commercially important crops, insect pests, and commercial Bt
formulations, (2) evaluate the economic feasibility of BtBooster" as a Bt adjuvant, and
(3) develop initial data for the EPA regulatory package. This research will move
BtBooster" from laboratory and greenhouse bioassays to field trials, and take a long step
toward developing a commercial product. We envision that it will broaden the
opportunities for Bt-based insect control by overcoming limitations in Bt biopesticides.
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