Le Biope: an environmental solution to the Lepidoptera pests

Lebanon’s first biopesticide, with crystal proteins of the local bacteria Bt targeting larva of Lepidoptera order.

arcenciel’s agricultural program, in cooperation with the faculty of Sciences within St. Joseph’s University, have succeeded in developing Lebanon’s first bio-pesticide. arcenciel’s bio-pesticide contains crystal proteins of the local strain of bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis which targets larva belonging to the order of Lepidoptera. The Lepidopterans, in high numbers, wreak havoc on a wide range of crops such as grapes, olives, tomatoes, apples and pine trees and are a growing threat to the Lebanese eco-system, threatening even the Cedars.

The product works by triggering crystals toxicity under specific pH conditions and enzymes activity within the insect’s intestine, blocking its digestive system receptors, thus leading to cellular death. This specific process makes this product safe to humans, microorganisms, animals, or other non-targeted and beneficial insects.

EU standards and organic certifications require the farmer to abstain from using chemicals for crops to a certain extent; however due to tainted natural resources, climate change and rise in pests and diseases, farmers find themselves having to use an increasing amount of chemical amendments.

While organic alternatives exist and are sometimes available, they are currently not a feasible option due to their costly nature, short shelf-life, and inconsistent effectiveness.  As such, arcenciel and USJ worked hand in hand to create an affordable, effective, and safe solution to all these issues.

Switching from chemical to organic pesticides helps protect the environment, biodiversity, the farmers, and local communities. In addition, the bio-pesticide acts as a revenue generating amendment, as it allows farmers to protect their crops while remaining eligible for export to foreign countries.