Certis USA's PFR-97 microbial insecticide registered by EPA to control thrips, psyllids, whiteflies, mealybugs and spider mites on fruit and vegetable crops; product reportedly controls difficult pests while being soft on beneficial insects, mites

COLUMBIA, Maryland , November 8, 2011 (press release) – PFR-97 microbial insecticide has been registered by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control thrips, psyllids, whiteflies, mealybugs and spider mites on fruit and vegetable crops. The registration of PFR-97 gives U.S. growers access to a product that has been widely available to growers in Europe where it is a popular control material for whiteflies and thrips. The introduction of PFR-97 in the U.S. by Certis USA coincides with growers’ needs worldwide to effectively control invasive pest species, insects that have become resistant to currently available pesticides, and to effectively manage residue limits and worker reentry intervals.

National Specialty Ag Sales Manager Jeremy Briscoe said, “Certis USA has a widely diversified portfolio of products with biological and novel modes of action. It’s an important offering, because to manage insecticide resistance, growers need to employ multiple modes of action. We envision all of our technologies, with their differing modes of action, to be used in integrated pest management (IPM) programs. As an example, PFR-97, an insecticidal fungus, can be used with our Javelin larvicide, DES-X insecticidal soap and Neemix insect growth regulator.”

The Apopka 97 strain of the active component in PFR-97, I. fumosorosea, was discovered by University of Florida researchers and licensed by WR Grace Biopesticides, a predecessor of Certis USA. It has long been used in Japan, Korea and Europe to control difficult pests in IPM systems that require products that are soft on beneficial insects and mites.

PFR-97 is expected to be instrumental in the control of chilli thrips (Scirtothrips dorsalis). Originating in Asia, chilli thrips has spread to Hawaii, the Caribbean and in 2005 was reported in Florida. Chilli thrips attack vegetables, ornamentals and fruit and damage all parts of the plant. Development of insecticide resistance is already eroding the utility of newer insecticides enlisted in thrips management. PFR-97 provides growers with a new microbial mode of action to control chilli thrips, forestall the development of resistance, and extend effective IPM programs.

PFR-97 is a naturally occurring fungus (I. fumosorosea) that infects and kills all phases of the target pest—eggs, nymphs and adults—by two routes of infection. The fungus can penetrate the host through direct contact with germinating spores applied to the crop or soil. It can also grow on plant surfaces or in the soil and parasitize hosts that come into contact with it. Regardless of the entry mode, infected insects soon stop feeding and die as the fungus completely fills their bodies, eventually emerging from the dead host to release more infective spores.

Headquartered in Columbia, MD, Certis USA is a leading manufacturer and distributor of the largest line of biopesticide products for specialty agricultural and horticultural markets. Certis USA product brands include its granulovirus products CYD-X® codling moth virus, Gemstar® corn earworm virus, and Spod-X® beet armyworm virus; as well as Agree®, Crymax®, Deliver® and Javelin® Bt bioinsecticides; Azatin®, Neemazad® and Neemix® botanical insect growth regulators; Trilogy® botanical fungicide/miticide; SoilGard® microbial fungicide; MeloCon® bionematicide; Basamid® granular soil fumigant; SCREEN Duo™ heat stress management for plants; DES-X™ insecticidal soap concentrate; Cueva™ liquid copper fungicide concentrate; SeduceTM insecticidal bait; Final-SanTM-O herbicidal concentrate; Sluggo® slug and snail bait (Eastern markets only) and Bug-N-Sluggo® insect, slug and snail bait; and now PFR-97TM insecticidal fungus.

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