Joop C. van Lenteren. Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University, POBox 8031, 6700 EH, Wageningen, The Netherlands. Joop.vanLenteren@wur.nl
Inundative or augmentative biological control (ABC) involves the production and release of indigenous or exotic biocontrol agents into crops, where they cause mortality of the target pest, but are not expected to persist from one cropping cycle to the next. Biocontrol agents for ABC are produced by 30 European companies. Currently, about 150 species of biocontrol agents are availabe in Europe. About 25 natural enemy species make up more than 90% of the market value. Currently, it is common practice to first look for indigenous natural enemies when a new, even exotic, pest develops, which is mainly to avoid complicated legislation and registration procedures. As a result, several exotic natural enemies that were used in Europe have been replaced by indigenous natural enemies recently. In several areas of European agriculture, such as fruit orchards, maize, vineyards and greenhouse crops (both vegetables and ornamentals), ABC is a successful, environmentally and economically sound alternative for chemical pest control. Success of commercial BC is primarily dependent on the quality of the natural enemies. Therefore, quality control methods have been developed by the industry in collaboration with biocontrol researchers. The total market for ABC agents at end-user level for greenhouses in 2008 was estimated at about € 200 million. The most important markets are Europe (75% of the market value), followed by North America (10%). Asia (8%), South America (5%) and Africa (2%) represent significant and growing markets.
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