Bio-tech Makes Agriculture Safer

Walk Out From The Laboratory
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Bio-Tech Makes Agriculture Safer

Walk Out From The Laboratory

Date:2006-11-14

    Agriculture biological technology adds more value safe agriculture creates!

    After many years of hard work cooperated by industries and the academic, Intellectual Property Rights Consideration Committee, Council of Agriculture has agreed to transfer theScreening new Bacillus thuringiensis strains and indentification of their genes.technology that developed by Agricultural Chemicals and Toxic Substances Research Institute, Council of Agriculture to Taiwan Fu-Sho Company. This is also the first Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt E-911) technology developed in Taiwan. It is estimated to reach the productive level in 2008 and will launch in the market in 2009. This technology transfer sets a new milestone to domestic Bacillus thuringiensis manufactures and writes a new page for domestic biological pesticide. When Bacillus thuringiensis is produced immensely in the future, farmers can use Bacillus thuringiensis on the plants and deal with insects disease more effectively by a better price. Farmers do not have to be restricted by imported products any more. The more Bacillus thuringiensis farmers use on the crops, the more safe crops – with no chemical pesticide residual -- consumers can enjoy.

    This is the first successful case that Agricultural Chemicals and Toxic Substances Research Institute, Council of Agriculture transfers its technology to industry in the biological pesticide development. The technology transfer includes Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt E-911 fungus), ferment manufacture technology, quality test technology and its origin registration information kit etc. It is like transferring "a package of technology". In order to reach the manufacturing goal in 2008, Fu-Sho Company processes aggressively the registration of pesticide factory locating in Chain-Bing industry area in Chian-HuaLu-Kang to meet the regulation and also tries every effort to fit in the whole manufacturing time schedule.

    So, what is Bacillus thuringiensis?

    Bacillus thuringiensis is a kind of germ that can become a spore. In the process of becoming a spore, Bacillus thuringiensis produces delta-endotoxin and it kills insects effectively. In short, Bacillus thuringiensis is a type of biological pesticide and it is an important one, since among the global biological pesticide sales, 90% of the market share is accounted by Bacillus thuringiensis products. Along with the natural, safe and organic agriculture trend, it is estimated that Bacillus thuringiensis will play a more and more important role in safe and organic agriculture in the future.

     Bacillus thuringiensis strains Kao Suei-shen, the director of biological pesticide team in Agricultural Chemicals and Toxic Substances Research Institute indicated that it is easy to obtain Bacillus thuringiensis. For example, Bacillus thuringiensis can be found in soil or animals’ excrements. Even in the leaves can find Bacillus thuringiensis.

    The researcher of agriculture materials research department in Taiwan Fu-Sho company, Chan chung-he pointed out that Bacillus thuringiensis is a target pesticide. It has no side effects to other living creatures besides target insects. Moreover, it is completely non-toxic to spinal animals and is a safe, non-residual and environmental protective plants protectant. Ever since the first Bacillus thuringiensis product is launched in France in 1938, there have been over 100 kinds of Bacillus thuringiensis products in the world till now.

    At present time the Bacillus thuringiensis products sold in Taiwan market are usually imported from abroad or authorized by foreign company. The germs are not selected or developed domestically. Due to the special climate environment in Taiwan, the imported pesticide is not as active as domestic germs and the price is usually high. Kao Suei-shen noted that domestic Bacillus thuringiensis, Bt E-911 has a better performance in the farm testimonial of preventing destructive insects of cabbage such as cabbage caterpillar and white butterfly than imported pesticide. In addition, after Bacillus thuringiensis can be produced immensely in the future, the price should be lower than the imported ones.

    Kao Suei-shen pointed out that timing, place and manpower fitting just right is the main reason of this successful technology transfer this time. More than twenty years ago, Biological Technology Center has transferred the technology of Bacillus thuringiensis fungus to Taiwan Fertilizer Company. Agricultural Chemicals and Examination Research Institute has also transferred the technology of Toxic Protein examination dose to Taiwan Fertilizer Company at the same time. However, the development of biological pesticide was not mature enough at that time. There were also constrains from other factor; therefore, the technology transfer did not work out at last.

    As a matter of fact, there are hundreds of safe agriculture development projects led by related organizations by using biological agriculture technologies, in responding the "Green Revolution" trend. However, projects that can successfully transfer their technologies and commercialize are still rare. Take biological pesticide as an example, among projects led by the research organizations, there are only one case in biological pesticide and one case in biological germicide that develop domestic fungus and transfer their technology into products successfully. The former is Bt E-911 and the latter is technology of Bacillus mycoldesY1336 which transferred from Biological Technology Center to Babtie Company.

    Why the commercialization road is so long after agriculture technology walks out from laboratory? The leader of Agriculture biological Technology National Project, Chen Tien-Chin, mentioned that the key point of technology transfer is about manpower. If only the technology is ready but lack of manpower, the achievements of technology transfer in research organizations are usually limited. Especially industries in Taiwan are usually middle or small size and they are lack of capital and resources to devote into research work very often. It is hard to have further development if only buying technology from research organizations without manpower to support it. Therefore, he indicated, by strengthening the communication between industry and the academia, putting less focus on how much is the patent of technology transfer, and emphasizing the mechanism of commercialization feedback, agriculture biological technology will have more space to develop.

    It seems there are many works need to be done after walk out from the laboratory.

Advanced reading
How does Bacillus thuringiensis kill the bugs?The mechanism of how Bacillus thuringiensis kills bugs is when a larva eats the delta-endotoxin of Bacillus thuringiensis, the toxic crystal stays in the intestine. By the function of alkali intestinal juice and the dissolution enzyme of protein, the toxic crystal dissolutes and becomes active toxin. The active toxin combines with epithlium cell of intestines and the holes made by it destroy the balance and force the cells break. When the cells are broken, the intestines collapse and force the bugs stopping ingestion immediately and die. The delta-endotoxin produced by Bacillus thuringiensis is a target pesticide. It has no side effects to other living creatures besides target insects. Moreover, it is completely non-toxic to spinal animals; especially the hydrochloric acid in gastric juice of a mammal can destroy its toxin. Its spore does not germinate in the lung and will not cause disease. The reaction when people inhale heavy amount to Bacillus thuringiensis is just as same as the reaction when people inhale heavy non-toxic particles.

Bacillus thuringiensis exists everywhere in the natural environment and is able to be separated from many places, such as soil, different kinds of leaves, still water, flowing water, an alluvial fan with salt between ocean and tidal flat, and animals' excrements. Bacillus thuringiensis has a strong vitality. It can breed without a host and live under normal temperature. After suitable blending, it is not washed by rain easily. Bacillus thuringiensis has always been the best way to prevent destructive insects.
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