Biopesticides – use and delivery

Ed. by F. R. Hall and J. J. Menn. 626 pages. Totowa, NJ, USA: Humana Press, 1999. h/b. ISBN 089603 515 8

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This fifth volume in the series Methods in biotechnology addresses the basic biology of key organisms, examples of their use, the development of recombinant biopesticides and the potential for the joint action of different groups.

The full range of biopesticides is considered, from biologically derived forms of pest control, such as neem, pheromones and transgenic plants, to the more traditional viruses, bacteria, fungi and nematodes.

Particularly useful information on the registration of biopesticides is given, although much relates to the USA, and there are general overviews of opportunities for the development of biopesticides in Europe, North America and the Developing World. The chapters on delivery systems and strategies for resistance management are particularly good and thought-provoking.

If I have any criticism it is that there is no chapter dealing solely with potential environmental impact. Nontarget impact of biological control agents in the classical sense is attracting increasing scrutiny. This aspect of microbial pesticides is often only briefly covered, however, is undoubtedly an issue that will eventually need to be addressed. As is often the case in a book of wide scope and short extent, there is a tendency to deal rather briefly with issues and data, and to rely on other reviews, rather than primary source material.

Biopesticides – use and delivery provides a good starting point for anyone interested in biopesticides in the broadest sense and the wide range of urgent issues that they raise.