Bio-Gene Technology (ASX: BGT) has achieved initial positive results using combinations of its Flavocide insecticide with grain protection compounds to fight key grain-storage pests, as part of a research venture with the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).
The department’s laboratory studies showed the full spectrum of pests were controlled effectively, including strains that had multiple resistances to insecticides currently used in the agricultural industry.
Bio-Gene chief executive officer Richard Jagger was pleased with the results and indicated the testing was part of a larger industry push to find effective broad-spectrum grain protectants.
“The data generated from our collaboration with DAF is highly encouraging,” he said.
“These results show the promise of incorporating Flavocide into pest management programs to give the industry more opportunity to effectively manage the ongoing pests and resistance problems.
“This enables us to commence discussions with potential industry participants to seek collaborations for the commercial application of this technology in the area of grain protection in both Australian and international markets”.
The company stated the research showed Flavocide was effective at controlling susceptible and resistant strains of lesser grain borer, saw-toothed grain beetle, the rusty grain beetle, rice weevil and flour beetle when used with the Dow AgroSciences organophosphate Chlorpyrifos-methyl.
Melbourne-based Bio-Gene also revealed that when Flavocide was used with the Bayer CropScience synthetic pyrethroid Deltamethrin, it effectively controlled a synthetic-pyrethroid-resistant strain of lesser grain borer.
The Dow and Bayer products are used as grain protectant insecticides by farming operations, with a number of pests seen in grain silos and storage resistant, in varying degrees, to major commercial formulations.
Bio-Gene indicated its product could be used to “maintain efficacy and prevent development of further resistance” of existing chemical formulations.
ASX-listed Bio-Gene has a current A$16.6 million market capitalisation after debuting on the exchange late last year, raising $7.1 million in its initial public offering.
The company believes its product could occupy a novel place in the industry. It flagged that at present no commercially available insecticide controlled all of the major grain-storage pests.
Bio-Gene’s next steps are to evaluate Flavocide’s effectiveness alone and in combination with other chemicals to demonstrate its residual potential over an extended period so the company can build momentum for industry acceptance.
As reported in December, Bio-Gene’s initial toxicity results indicated its next-generation insecticide was safe.
Mr Jagger told Small Caps in March the company aimed to “provide the next generation of effective insecticides” for the market and provide a “safer way of mitigating the effects of insects and pests on crops.”
The Bio-Gene leader said in early March if the company could successfully develop products that could withstand the growing resistance towards existing insecticides, this would create a superb commercial opportunity for Bio-Gene to streamline current farming methods and help restore crop yields currently suffering from the effects of pests and insects.
Bio-Gene later reported results on a positive field trial in late March, sharing international contract research organisation Eurofins’ trial of Flavocide in the rice fields of Thailand.
Eurofins found Flavocide was effective against young and mature planthoppers and was “superior to the existing chemistry used”, given control samples were treated with existing products already in farming.
The company’s securities were up 3.85% to A$0.14 by mid-afternoon.