RNA-based Biopesticide Kills 98.3 Per Cent of Colorado Potato Beetles

Adult Colorado potato beetles feeding
Adult Colorado potato beetles feeding on a potato plant. Photo: Tracy Shinners-Carnelley, Peak of the Market

A Vancouver, B.C.-based company has announced that an independent test of its environmentally safe, RNA-based biopesticide technology was found to have 98.3 per cent mortality of Colorado potato beetle (CPB) larvae, a Sept. 29 news release from Renaissance BioScience Corp. says. It also greatly reduced the amount of plant damage caused by the beetle.

The proof-of-concept test, conducted by a leading international agriculture consultancy with expertise in pesticide evaluation, applied Renaissance’s proprietary yeast-based RNA interference technology. The test is designed to precisely target and turn off a specific CPB gene, the release says.

A benefit of the novel proprietary RNA production and oral delivery platform technology is it’s possible to include multiple different gene targets in each cell of the delivery system. This greatly reduces or eliminates the potential for CPB to develop resistance to this biopesticide, the release notes.

“We still have work to do but these findings confirm the potential for our technology for crop protection. Given that the large-scale, low-cost production of yeast is already readily available from well-established global yeast companies, our focus now is maximizing effectiveness through further laboratory tests and field trials and organizing appropriate commercial partners for the next phases of product development,” John Husnik, CEO of Renaissance BioScience, says in the release.

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