Nieuws - 14 juni 2010

Accolade for Van Lenteren

Joop van Lenteren was placed in the limelight on 10 June by the producers of organic crop protectants. He received a Life Time Achievement Award from the International Biocontrol Manufacturers' Association. The R&D director for crop protectant producer Koppert, Karel Bolckmans, handed over the prize.

Van Lenteren delivered his farewell lecture on 10 June as professor of Entomology at Wageningen University. His research into the natural enemies of pest insects has made him a pioneer in biological disease and pest control in agriculture. Forty years ago, he discovered how parasitic insects capture their hosts and how they learn to differentiate between good and bad preys. He developed ten criteria necessary for qualifying insects as biological control agents. His fundamental insights have contributed to a worldwide business sector in biological control with an annual turnover of 400 billion euros.
Yet, Van Lenteren expressed discontent about this subject in his farewell lecture. While organic crop protection is safer and cheaper than chemical crop protection, governments do not give enough support for environmentally friendly crop protection measures, says the professor. Moreover, the pesticide industry opposes biological control measures, 'because it cannot obtain a patent for insects and it doesn't want long term solutions. The biological control sector would have to step up its lobbying efforts.'