NovAgrica Hellas SA announces the signing of an agreement between the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking
(BBI JU) and PHERA (Pheromones for Row crop Applications) for a grant of €6.4 million.
Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) is a partnership between the EU and several of Europe’s bio-
based industries aiming to help Europe meet its goals for sustainable agriculture.
PHERA is a consortium of European companies developing sustainable fermentation processes to produce and
commercialize pheromones to safely control insect pests of maize, soybean, cotton, and other row crops.
NovAgrica is actively involved in the field of “green” economy by developing and formulating insect semiochemicals
(pheromones) and biotechnical insecticides since 2004. Europe, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa are key areas
where the company is deployed offering biological and chemical products to be used in IPM programs for plant
protection. For additional information, please visit www.novagrica.com
Message from NovAgrica Head of R&D and co-founder Dr Dimitris Raptopoulos
“NovAgrica is dedicated to innovative solutions with efficient and cost effective products that protect the crop and support the environmental sustainability and advocates these issues as an active member of the International
Biocontrol Manufacturers Association (IBMA). At NovAgrica we strongly believe that pest control methods based on
pheromones can and should be used as safe, effective, and sustainable alternatives to toxic pesticides.
Together with three European companies (SEDQ, Russell IPM and ISCA) involved in pheromone applications for pest management, BioPhero a frontrunner in pheromone production via fermentation, BRF experts in scaling up and Fraunhofer for life-cycle analysis, we formed the PHERA consortium. Part of the research will be carried out in
the Laboratory of Chemical Ecology and Natural Products, NCSR “Demokritos”.
Our common vision is to scale up pheromone production using biotechnological methods to produce insect
pheromones at prices competitive to conventional treatments so pheromone based solutions like mating disruption
may expand into row crops such as cotton, rice, maize and soybeans. At the moment, due to the high cost of
pheromones, these eco-friendly solutions are reserved only for specialty crops such as certain fruits and vegetables.”
What are Pheromones?
Pheromones are secondary metabolites produced by individuals of one species and acting as chemical messages modify the behavior or the physiology of other individuals within the same species. They serve as a method of communication between members of the same or the opposite sex and constitute invaluable tools for monitoring and management of insect pests. Mating disruption, mass trapping, “attract-and-kill”, and “push-pull” are key examples of control strategies utilizing pheromones in pest control as non-toxic natural products that can reduce insecticide load in the environment.