Brazil’s Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology and the Bthek Biotechnology Company are launching today the first Brazilian-made biological insecticide capable of controlling blackflies and the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue fever.
The insecticide will be launched as part of the commemorations of the 32nd anniversary of the Embrapa (Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária – Brazilian Agricultural Research Company).
According to the Secretariat of Health Protection, this year alone over 38 thousand people throughout the country have been infected by dengue, which is present in at least 3,600 Brazilian municipalities.
The blackfly (Simullium spp) for its part, has a bite that causes considerable pain and can provoke allergic reactions and harm the lives of rural workers, tourism, and farming.
The biological insecticide, identified commercially as Bt-horus, was developed from a bacteria known as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis).
After various toxicological tests, the product was judged to be harmless to human health and the environment and registered with the Ministry of Health and the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama).
Field tests have already been conducted, with excellent results, and experiments in water tanks in the city of Brasília over a one-month period produced a mortality rate for insects of 100%.
Another advantage, according to the head of the Embrapa Center for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, José Manuel Dias, is that the insects do not develop resistance to the new insecticide, a problem very common with various imported insecticides.
“Various of the insecticides that were used to control mosquitoes no longer have any effect. With continuous use they stop working. This product does not cause resistance, since its action is biological, not chemical,” he explained.