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Virologica Sinica, 22 (2) : 173-179, 2007
Research Article
Nucleopolyhedrovirus Introduction in Australia
1. Ag Biotech Australia Pty Ltd
2. QDPI&F
3.QDPI&F, Australia
 Correspondence:
(94.02KB)  
Abstract
Nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPV) has become an integral part of integrated pest management (IPM) in many Australian agricultural and horticultural crops. This is the culmination of years of work conducted by researchers at the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (QDPI&F) and Ag Biotech Australia Pty Ltd. In the early 1970’s researchers at QDPI&F identified and isolated a virus in Helicoverpa armigera populations in the field. This NPV was extensively studied and shown to be highly specific to Helicoverpa and Heliothis species. Further work showed that when used appropriately the virus could be used effectively to manage these insects in crops such as sorghum, cotton, chickpea and sweet corn. A similar virus was first commercially produced in the USA in the 1970’s. This product, Elcar?, was introduced into Australia in the late 1970’s by Shell Chemicals with limited success. A major factor contributing to the poor adoption of Elcar was the concurrent enormous success of the synthetic pyrethroids. The importance of integrated pest management was probably also not widely accepted at that time. Gradual development of insect resistance to synthetic pyrethroids and other synthetic insecticides in Australia and the increased awareness of the importance of IPM meant that researchers once again turned their attentions to environmentally friendly pest management tools such NPV and beneficial insects. In the 1990’s a company called Rhone-Poulenc registered an NPV for use in Australian sorghum, chickpea and cotton. This product, Gemstar?, was imported from the USA. In 2000 Ag Biotech Australia established an in-vivo production facility in Australia to produce commercial volumes of a product similar to the imported product. This product was branded, ViVUS?, and was first registered and sold commercially in Australia in 2003. The initial production of ViVUS used a virus identical to the American product but replicating it in an Australian Helicoverpa species, H. armigera. Subsequent research collaboration between QDPI&F and Ag Biotech reinvigorated interest in the local virus strain. This was purified and the production system adapted to produce it on a commercial scale. This new version of ViVUS, which was branded ViVUS Gold?, was first registered and sold commercially in 2004. Widespread insect resistance to insecticides and a greater understanding of integrated pest management is leading to increased adoption of technologies such NPV in Australian agriculture.
  Published online: 20 Apr 2007
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