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EPA greenlights novel biopesticide, targeting Colorado potato beetle with RNA technology

The EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) has recently registered a novel pesticide technology for potato crops. This technology involves the use of a biopesticide product called Ledprona, which contains a new active ingredient known as double-stranded ribonucleic acid (dsRNA). Ledprona utilizes a natural mechanism called RNA interference (RNAi), which is used by plants and animals to protect against disease.

The main target pest for Ledprona is the Colorado potato beetle (CPB), which is a major threat to potato crops in several states across the United States. The use of Ledprona helps to control CPB by “silencing” the gene responsible for producing a protein essential for the pest’s survival. Importantly, Ledprona does not result in the creation of genetically modified organisms.

The registration of this novel pesticide technology is significant because it offers an alternative to chemical-based pesticides that may pose higher risks to human health or the environment. Additionally, Ledprona provides an additional tool for farmers to address the challenges posed by climate change and aids in resistance management.

EPA notes that this pesticide is “the first sprayable dsRNA pesticide in the world allowed to be used commercially and sprayed on plants.”

It is worth noting that CPB has been known to rapidly develop resistance to chemical-based insecticides, making the introduction of this new technology all the more important.

Before receiving registration, Ledprona underwent rigorous evaluation by the EPA to ensure its safety for human health and the environment. The EPA also engaged with international partners and experts in the field to assess the risks associated with RNAi technology. The registration of Ledprona for commercial use follows an experimental testing phase in ten states and a public comment period.

Overall, the registration of Ledprona as a novel pesticide technology for potato crops represents a significant advancement in pest control methods. By utilizing RNA interference, Ledprona provides an effective and environmentally friendly solution to combat the Colorado potato beetle and reduce reliance on chemical-based pesticides.

Source: EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
Photo: Credit Daniel Borker from Pixabay

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