The organic foods and products craze appears to be driving a trend in the development of “natural” pesticides for use in American agriculture, homes and other settings.
A new study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Natural Products has found most new pesticides developed since 1997 are derived from natural substances, not synthetic chemicals.
Lead researcher Charles L. Cantrell and colleagues found that more than two out of every three new pesticide active ingredients registered with and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency between 1997 and 2010 had roots in natural substances produced in living plants, animals or other organisms.
When researchers included biological ingredients and natural products used in new pesticides and biopesticides, more than 69 percent of all EPA-registered active ingredients “have natural origins.”
Cantrell said the findings defy conventional wisdom that natural products may not be the best sources for products that aim to combat insects and other pests.
The study was funded, in part, by the U.S. Department of Defense through the Armed Forces Pest Management Board.