SC Johnson’s sustainable insecticide

Another addition to my biopesticide saga, although this might be my last this summer.

For this post, SC Johnson is making sure that one of their key natural insecticide ingredient, Pyrethrum extracted from the dried flower heads of chrysanthemums, is benefiting farmers in East Africa (as well as them of course).

SC Johnson initiated a U.S. Agency for International Development (US AID)-funded project starting this month where Rwanda pyrethrum farmers by helping them enhance the collection, drying and transportation of higher-quality pyrethrum flowers. The 28-month long project will not only ensure sustainable supply of Pyrethrum for SC Johnson but will hopefully increase the farmers’ incomes.

The new project will focus on improving pyrethrum yields, quality and production through farmer organization, advanced technology and more effective agricultural practices.

SC Johnson said global demand for pyrethrum is twice as high as current supply. The company plans to increase pyrethrum content and production from last year’s 400 tons of dried flowers to 1200 tons in 2010.

SC Johnson has purchased pyrethrum from East Africa for more than 40 years.

Speaking of natural pesticides, I came across several recent announcements about them. One of course is from DuPont’s new catnip-based insecticide, which I already posted last month.

Another is using carbon dioxide “dry ice” snow to freeze bed bugs and their eggs/larvae. NJ-based pest management company Bell Environmental Services (BES) said that they are one of the few companies that use the Instant Freeze technology.

Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan, meanwhile, are developing new fungicides called “paldoxins” found in plant-produced natural chemicals called phytoalexins, which kills disease-causing fungi.

The researchers discovered the most powerful phytoalexin in a flowering plant called camelina or “false flax.” The researchers now have developed six different synthetic versions of the paldoxins, which are essentially potent inhibitors of fungal enzymes.

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