Last February, a contract was signed between the company FUTURECO BIOSCIENCE, S.A. and the University of Córdoba (UCO) of Public Purchase of Innovation in its pre-commercial modality as part of the INNOLIVAR Project, in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement between the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness and the UCO, co-financed with FEDER funds. The object of the contract is the “Preparation of a pre-commercial form of entomopathogenic fungi for the control of the olive fly.”
FUTURECO BIOSCIENCE has been awarded in this tender process, in which a total of 6 companies participated. The olive fly, Bactrocera oleae, is the main pest of the olive tree, as it affects both the production (fruit fall) and the quality of the oil. This plague is a widespread problem throughout the Mediterranean area and in other producing areas in the world. In order to control this pest, an indiscriminate use of synthetic insecticides has been carried out, which has caused a strong environmental impact due to contamination and has generated a loss of efficacy of chemical treatments as a consequence of the generation of resistances. Currently in Spain, different programs are developed for the management and control of this pest that advocate the use of integrated control strategies and Biological Control technologies in ecologically sensitive areas. The success of these initiatives is conditioned by the shortage of means of phytosanitary defense of biological origin since less than 3% of the insecticides authorized today for the control of this pest are biopesticides.
The bio-insecticide based on the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum that FUTURECO BIOSCIENCE will develop will have the collaboration of the Applied Entomology group of the UCO, which has been leading research for several years to find alternative ecological means to control this pest. This project combines the experience of FUTURECO BIOSCIENCE both in the technical and regulatory aspects to bring to the market a discovery of high scientific relevance and clear benefit for the agricultural and agri-food sector.