In California, Provivi has produced its fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) pheromone at ton scale. The fall armyworm is a Lepidopteran pest that feeds on more than 80 plant species, causing major damage to corn, rice, sorghum, cotton, sugarcane and vegetable crops. Native to the Americas, the fall armyworm has now invaded Africa and large parts of Asia causing major disruptions to farmer livelihoods and food production in these regions. The fall armyworm is notoriously difficult to control with conventional pesticides, and thus new solutions to this global problem as urgently needed.
Pheromones are natural products used by insects of the same species to mediate mating. Their application allows for the control of deleterious pests while preserving beneficial insects. Provivi’s patented production methods enable a step change in the cost of manufacturing pheromones, allowing use of this proven tool in large-acreage crops such as corn, rice, and soy.
Provivi’s Pherogen product, aimed at controlling the fall armyworm, is being tested in multiple geographies as part of the company’s mission to bring this innovative solution to the farmers who most need it around the world.
“Over the past five years, our dedicated team of chemists and engineers has worked tirelessly to invent, develop, and scale new methods for synthesizing pheromones at unprecedented cost and simplicity. Today’s announcement marks another milestone towards realizing the potential of pheromones as a credible foundation of insect control in modern agriculture at a global scale,” says Dr. Peter Meinhold, Provivi’s CTO.
Bill Evanko, Provivi’s VP of Engineering added: “the production of these initial metric ton quantities demonstrates that the technology is robust and scalable. The learnings from this effort will allow us to accelerate the scale-up of additional pheromones and produce significantly larger quantities still in 2019.”