Bio-Pesticides: A Bio-Remedy for Stored Food Pests
Food & Beverages Processing|February 2021
The grains during storage are often liable to quantitative and qualitative losses due to insect infestations.
Vithu Prabha and Sanjaya K Dash

Primary pests such as the beetle, and moth and their larva damage the grain kernels at first, followed by secondary and tertiary pests that feed on the broken grains. Further, increased grain moisture and heat during the insect growths favor oxidation reactions and microbial growths affecting the nutritional quality of grains as well. Hence to minimize the risks of economic losses and to assure the availability of high-quality foods, apt and timely pest management practices are necessary. Chemical fumigations combined with controlling the storage ambient is a common method adopted in industries to preserve the grains. However, the application of bio-pesticides is becoming gradually popular these days. Bio-pesticides are parts/constituents of selected botanicals that possess natural insecticidal properties against certain stored pests in foods. The applications of bio-pesticides using locally available plants have been practiced in households since time immemorial for protecting food from insect infestation and microbial spoilages. Here, the selected plant constituents create an unfavorable condition for the insects’ growth and reproduction, thereby preserving the food from these biological factors for longer durations.

Significance of Bio-pesticides

Food preservation using synthetic preservatives (or chemicals) have replaced the use of traditional preservatives such as sugar, salt, vinegar, and alcohol in many cases. This use of chemicals in food, however, has residue and toxicity effects, thus posing serious safety concerns.

Chemical pest management practices of grains such as fumigation with methyl bromide also have same limitations. Moreover, the use of chemical insecticides on food can affect the ecological balance adversely. Consequently, the need for safe and quality foods is driving a trend towards a preservation technique using plant products that possess anti-insect, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities. Also, the application of bio-pesticides is gaining a considerable attention in grain industries due to its sustainability approach, minimising the high energy and labour, otherwise required for monitoring grain quality and pest managements.

Modes of Application of Bio-pesticides

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