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The Manual of Biocontrol Agents (5th Edition)

| August 17, 2017

The Manual of Biocontrol Agents (5th Edition)

June 2014
304 Pages
ISBN 9781901396874

The British Crop Production Council (BCPC) is a non-profit-making organisation and for over 50 years it has developed an international reputation for sound science in the fields of agriculture, food and the environment. Its conferences, publications and working groups bring together scientists to form opinion on key issues and its website attracts more than 12,000 visitors a month seeking its opinions, products and services.

The Manual of Biocontrol Agents, first published as The BioPesticide Manual in 1998, in this new (5th) edition, has been substantially revised and updated to reflect the growth and maturity of the global biocontrol industry, which is predicted to reach $3.2 billion by 2017.

The new edition claims to contain details of all active substances or organisms that are available commercially in at least one (registered) product form. This may be true at the time of print but in such a fast moving industry, new products are being added all the time.

Over 200 commercially available active substances have initially been included under the now familiar groupings of macro-organisms, micro-organisms, botanicals and semiochemicals. Each section details the modes of action, key data on mammalian, ecological and environmental toxicology, target crops and pests.

Where there may still be gaps to be filled, comes in the listing of products. Whilst the launch promotion boldly claims the listing is up to date, accurate and comprehensive for over 200 active substances, this is not strictly true of the with regard to commercially available products and not in the printed Manual.

The BCPC has fortunately developed an online version of The Manual so if you want more up to date information, then the new on-line access is a must have option. With no apparent limitation on space, this option provides users with additional information on the products.

The on-line manual has also been developed for user-friendly access on different devices, including smart phones. In addition, with the immediacy of the internet, the online version should (provided it is well maintained) be updated throughout the year (no claim how often) to reflect major changes and regulatory impacts in the sector. At the time of going to print, products from 77 companies were featured.

The publication has been compiled by experts in the biocontrol industry and should be a valuable resource for all those involved in Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

With the unabridged title ‘A World Compendium – The Manual of Biocontrol Agents’ it is a bold publication that claims to cover all global markets. The rise of biocontrol in China and Asia generally (some Indian companies are covered), it may be that certain commercialised agents in some markets are not featured.

In this digital age, with knowledge and communication improving all the time, so too hopefully will the listing. Feedback is encouraged, so if as a user you spot inconsistencies or gaps, the editor and publishers would welcome these being highlighted.

From a pheromone perspective I noticed an absence of some major global mating disruption products. As the listing depends on products having full approvals, and with the regulatory situation in the EU being what it is, this may explain some obvious omissions.

For some active substances (eg macrobials) I noted that more than one company is listed, but for others it may be only one. To be included within the list of active substances, the publishers have to be confident of their regulatory status and have focused mostly on OECD countries. Recognising that the biocontrol industry is moving at a fast pace, the BCPC are, for the on-line manual, developing a facility to link product registrations with countries, noting the regulatory status – provision, national or EU etc. If successful, this should give the flexibility to deal with products that do not yet have full approvals and help plug any gaps.

So consider this as a bold attempt at listing all biocontrol active substances rather than a comprehensive listing of commercial products. The resource has considerable merit. With the need for regular updating, my preference would be to opt for the online version and send evidence of any gaps to the publishers to make it the valuable tool that it aims to be.

Reviewed in International Pest Control – July/August 2014 issue.


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Category: Agriculture Books, Books

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