The 2022 Bernard Blum Award for biocontrol products has been awarded to Enric Vila, head of R&D at Agrobío, and Pablo Bielza, professor at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, for ORIcontrol Plus. The solution is the result of close collaboration between Agrobío’s research and technical development team and Pablo Bielza’s team at UPCT. Orius Plus represents a paradigm shift in the biological control of thrips ensuring crop greater resilience and pest prevention.
After 10 years of selective breeding, Pablo Bielza’s team obtained a strain that is adapted to feeding on pollen, showing a significant increase in egg-to-adult survival and lifetime fecundity compared to standard commercial populations.
Vila said: “The product can survive without food, has a higher fertility rate and great voracity, allowing successfully established populations of Orius in pollen-free horticultural crops such as cucumbers and ornamentals to offer extraordinary control of thrips as well as a reduction in other pests.” He added that thanks to these characteristics, “we have been able to extend its use to a multitude of crops, including for the first time vegetables without pollen such as cucumber, ornamental cut flowers and potted plants, and also open field crops such as different orchards.”
Each year, IBMA selects the most innovative products in biocontrol, assessing their high impact on pest management, their low impact on human health and their impact on the environment.