The next phase of the development of this Australian made virus was to replace the American virus strain with a native Australian strain. A native strain had been isolated many years previously by R.E.Teakle, a researcher from the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries. An agreement was struck between Ag Biotech and QDPI & F to get access to the strain for commercial production.
In laboratory potency testing the native strain proved to be significantly more potent than the American strain as can be seen from the sample data represented in the Fig. 2.
Figure 2. Comparison of LD50 between NPV standard, a strain from the USA and a native Australian strain.
The lower LD50, increased potency, led to field trial testing which again confirmed the effectiveness of the native strain. The data in Table 1 represent a small proportion of the field data generated with the native strain, ViVUS Gold.
Table 1. Effectiveness of ViVUS GOLD and ViVUS on Helicoverpa armigera in tomatoes
ViVUS Gold was first registered in 2004 with a list of uses on the label similar to the previously registered ViVUS. Subsequent research has led to a vastly increased list of uses as can be seen in Table 2. The application of ViVUS Gold can now also be done through the irrigation water a method which has proven to be very successful by a number of innovative growers.
Table 2. List of crops and uses appearing on the ViVUS Gold label
Ag Biotech has developed a process by which a more concentrated form of the virus can be produced. The end product will contain 5×109 PIBs per mL instead of the current 2×109. The end product will be packed into smaller containers than currently (current pack size is 10L with the new pack being 5L). From the users point of view this will mean less waste packaging to dispose of Refrigerated storage and transport will also become less of a problem with smaller pack sizes-more product in a smaller space.