A team of from the Agricultural Research Service’s Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory (IIBBL) discovered a new species of purple-pigmented bacterium named Chromobacterium subtsugae strain PRAA4-1T, which is the basis of a new broad-spectrum microbial insecticide.
The IIBBL scientists showed it was toxic to a remarkable range of significant agricultural insect pests, even piercing, sucking and chewing insects such as the Colorado potato beetle, western and southern corn rootworm, diamondback moth, sweet potato whitefly, southern green stinkbug, and small hive beetle.
A patent was awarded for this strain in 2007, with industrial partners Natural Resources, Inc., and Marrone BioInnovations, Inc., obtaining co-exclusive licenses. Working with IIBBL, Marrone BioInnovations subsequently formulated an insecticide product from C. subtsugae and supervised field efficacy trials by leading universities and crop consultants that demonstrated its equivalence or superiority to current chemical pesticides.
A patent was awarded for this strain in 2007, with industrial partners Natural Resources, Inc., and Marrone BioInnovations, Inc., obtaining co-exclusive licenses.
In October 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered C. subtsugae for use against a broad spectrum of insect pests, including psyllids, thrips, mealybugs, stinkbugs, lygus bugs, leaf beetles, turf grubs, and a variety of lepidopteran pests. Remarkably, C. subtsugae is not toxic to pollinators or other beneficial insects. This technology represents the first new registered microbial insecticide to reach the market in nearly 50 years.
Marrone BioInnovations has commercialized the C. subtsugae strain as the product Grandevo™, which was approved for use in greenhouses, gardens, and farms on agricultural and ornamental crops. Grandevo™ is a high performance product offering unique modes of action that will delay or stop the development of resistance in insects. Following EPA and state registrations, a liquid formulation of Grandevo™ was launched in Florida for use against Asian citrus psyllid, a vector of citrus greening disease. Ag Professional magazine chose a flowable dry formulation of Grandevo™ as an Editors’ Choice Top 10 New Product of the Year for 2011.