Biological control agents : an environmentally-friendly way of controlling pests and diseases on crops

Biological control using invertebrates and microorganisms : plenty of new opportunities

The authors of a new review of the current state of biological control refer to a recent UN report which states that it is possible to produce enough food to feed a world population of nine billion with substantially less chemical pesticides — and even without these pesticides if sufficient effort is made to develop biocontrol-based Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods. The study suggests that policy measures can speed up the development and use of environmentally-friendly crop protection.

2017 Study Abstract

In augmentative biological control (ABC), invertebrate and microbial organisms are seasonally released in large numbers to reduce pests. Today it is applied on more than 30 million ha worldwide. Europe is the largest commercial market for invertebrate biological control agents, while North America has the largest sales of microbials. A strong growth in use of ABC, particularly of microbial agents, is taking place in Latin America, followed by Asia.

The current popularity of ABC is due to

  1. its inherent positive characteristics (healthier for farm workers and persons living in farming communities, no harvesting interval or waiting period after release of agents, sustainable as there is no development of resistance against arthropod natural enemies, no phytotoxic damage to plants, better yields and a healthier product, reduced pesticide residues [well below the legal Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs)],
  2. professionalism of the biological control industry (inexpensive large scale mass production, proper quality control, efficient packaging, distribution and release methods, and availability of many (>440 species) control agents for numerous pests),
  3. a number of recent successes showing how biological control can save agricultural production when pesticides fail or are not available,
  4. several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), consumers, and retailers demanding pesticide residues far below the legal MRLs,
  5. and policy developments in several regions of the world aimed at reduction and replacement of synthetic pesticides by more sustainable methods of pest management.

We are convinced, however, that ABC can be applied on a much larger area than it is today. We plead in the short term for a pragmatic form of agriculture that is adaptable, non-dogmatic and combines the sustainability gain from all types of agriculture and pest management methods. We then propose to move to “conscious agriculture”, which involves participation of all stakeholders in the production and consumer chain, and respects the environment and resource availability for future generations. Were “conscious agriculture” to be considered a serious alternative to conventional farming, ABC would face an even brighter future.

More Information

    • Natural enemies of crop pests will feature in the future of environmentally friendly farming, Science for Environment Policy, Issue 468, 16 November 2017.
    • Biological control using invertebrates and microorganisms: plenty of new opportunities, Springer, s10526-017-9801-4, 2017.
    • Biological control agents featured image credit organicplantcare.

Mécanismes épigénétique des perturbateurs endocriniens

Dr Anne Wautier, Réseau DES France, Forum d’Infertilité 2017

Vidéos en français: Distilbène DES : 60 vidéos à visionner sur YouTube.

Image credit @magicmaman_com.

Le Dr Anne Wautier, gynécologue médicale, aborde de façon très claire (et avec des exemples aidant à la compréhension) des notions complexes telles que : épigénétique, perturbateurs endocriniens, effets transgénérationnels du distilbene DES.

Enregistrement provenant de la 4ème Journée Nationale de l’Infertilité, un forum d’information et d’aide aux personnes infertiles organisé cet automne 2017, Paris 12.

Le Distilbène DES, en savoir plus

Forum d’Infertilité 2017

Avec les Dr Anne Wautier et Pr Michel Tournaire, Réseau DES France

Vidéos en français: Distilbène DES : 60 vidéos à visionner sur YouTube.

Lors de la 4ème Journée Nationale de l’Infertilité, un forum d’information et d’aide aux personnes infertiles organisé cet automne, deux personnalités de l’association Réseau DES France ont partagé leur expertise.

  • le Dr Anne Wautier (45:40) a abordé des notions telles que effets distilbène, épigénétique, perturbateurs endocriniens, effets transgénérationnels.
  • le Pr Michel Tournaire (51:45) a présenté de nouveaux résultats de l’étude Distilbène 3 générations : fertilité et grossesses des “petites-filles DES“.
Le Distilbène DES, en savoir plus

Stupid Cancer App Connects the DES Community Online

Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

A new smartphone app from the nonprofit Stupid Cancer gives the DES community a unique opportunity to seek support from others with DES exposure or cancer diagnosis.

The more DES-exposed individuals who use the app, the more valuable it is to everyone in the DES community.

After downloading the free, secure app (initially for Mac only), participants create a profile. By selecting the DES-exposed option in “What was your primary diagnosis?” individuals are instantly matched to others.

Originally shared via Your DES Action Monthly Email Alert!
Join DES Action USA.

More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Perturbateurs Endocriniens : du Poison pour Nos Enfants

Nos enfants sont- ils condamnés ?

RTBF Auvio, Questions à la une, 16.11.2017.

Ecoutez Tifenn, de l’association Réseau DES France, nous parler de la 3ème génération de victimes exposées au médicament distilbène, modèle de perturbateurs endocriniens.

Avec l’avènement de la chimie, les perturbateurs endocriniens ont envahi notre environnement. Ils sont partout : dans le plastique de nos cuisines, au coeur de nos ordinateurs, dans le moteur et la peinture de nos voitures, dans nos assiettes, et même dans l’air que nous respirons. Impossible d’y échapper !

Mais ces substances parasitent notre système hormonal et dérèglent notre organisme. Les scientifiques tirent la sonette d’alarme. Infertilité, obésité, trouble de l’attention, perte de mémoire et même cancer… Les pathologies qu’on attribue aux perturbateurs endocriniens explosent.

Le Distilbène DES, en savoir plus

Ambient air pollution and the risk of pregnancy loss

Air pollution exposure in early pregnancy linked to miscarriage

Exposure to common air pollutants, such as ozone and fine particles, may increase the risk of early pregnancy loss, according to a new study.

2017 Study Abstract

To estimate the association of pregnancy loss with common air pollutant exposure. Ambient air pollution exposure has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes, but few studies have investigated its relationship with pregnancy loss.

Prospective cohort study.

Not applicable.

A total of 343 singleton pregnancies in a multisite prospective cohort study with detailed protocols for ovulation and pregnancy testing.


Main Outcome Measure(s)
Timing of incident pregnancy loss (from ovulation).

The incidence of pregnancy loss was 28% (n = 98). Pollutant levels at women’s residences were estimated using modified Community Multiscale Air Quality models and averaged during the past 2 weeks (acute) and the whole pregnancy (chronic). Adjusted Cox proportional hazards models showed that an interquartile range increase in average whole pregnancy ozone (hazard ratio [HR] 1.12, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07–1.17) and particulate matter <2.5 μm (HR 1.13, 95% CI 1.03–1.24) concentrations were associated with faster time to pregnancy loss. Sulfate compounds also appeared to increase risk (HR 1.58, 95% CI 1.07–2.34). Last 2 weeks of exposures were not associated with loss.

In a prospective cohort of couples trying to conceive, we found evidence that exposure to air pollution throughout pregnancy was associated with loss, but delineating specific periods of heightened vulnerability await larger preconception cohort studies with daily measured air quality.

More Information

  • Ambient air pollution and the risk of pregnancy loss: a prospective cohort study, Fertility and Sterility,, November 16, 2017.
  • Air pollution exposure in early pregnancy linked to miscarriage, NIH study suggests, National Institutes of Health, news-releases, November 16, 2017.
  • Pregnancy loss featured image credit Heather Kittredge

MPs Challenge the EWG Report Findings in ref to Primodos and Hormone Pregnancy Tests

MPs attack “whitewash” report on hormone pregnancy test drugs

MP Justin Madders has written to govt asking why the Primodos expert working group changed the conclusion of its controversial report.

A large number of MPs have challenged the findings of the EWG report, a government-led review which suggested the Primodos pregnancy test drug was not responsible for causing deformities to children.

I know the Minister very well. He is a passionate and caring Minister, but I am afraid that I disagree with many of the things he said this morning. The families do—I think, rightly—feel that the report is a whitewash. Material has been removed from the draft, and the group looked into matters that were not within its remit. The question of a causal link was not in its remit. The question was whether there was link with a drug that was often given to our constituents with no prescription: a drawer would be opened, and it would be handed out to them so that they could find out whether they were pregnant. An open inquiry was needed, but I am afraid that the families, and many Members who are present today, will not feel that that was what happened. Will the Minister please meet the families again, with members of the all-party group, and try to understand why they are so upset? Will the Minister please also watch last night’s report on Sky News, which exposes much of what has being going on over many Parliaments? No matter who was in government, Governments have ignored these people, and we cannot continue to do so.

Mike Penning,
Conservative, Hemel Hempstead

On Friday, two constituents came to my surgery to speak to me about exactly this. The mother had taken one of these pills and her daughter was born with deformities. This is not the Minister’s report—he is just giving his explanation and doing his job—but may I suggest that we have a proper Back-Bench debate in which we can exercise all these issues? With great respect to the working group, and having had some experience as a former public health Minister and knowing about contaminated blood, I am afraid to say that I smell something like a very large rat in all of this. I think that there have been cover-ups.

Anna Soubry,
Conservative, Broxtowe

My hon. Friend is clearly struggling to defend this position. I urge him to look at the scope of this review and all the evidence that was presented to it, as all the evidence that was available should be looked at and looked at again. Without that, many people across this country will not be satisfied that justice has been done.

Bob Blackman,
Conservative, Harrow East

It is my understanding that in the research on fish, the researcher was reluctant to submit the findings because they had not been peer-reviewed. Is the Minister confident that all the animal studies that were considered in this review were properly and adequately peer-reviewed? We now know there are many studies included that were not peer reviewed.

Liz McInnes,
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

Like Anna Soubry, I am reminded of the contaminated blood inquiry, which is ongoing. In 1975, the regulator knew that there was a potential 5:1 risk of the drug causing deformity. They told the manufacturers but not the patients, and papers were deliberately destroyed by the chief scientist. It is deeply worrying to the families that there is not an open and transparent investigation into this matter. Does the Minister know whether the Berlin archive papers were examined as part of this inquiry, because they demonstrate the cover-up that has happened over many years?

Madeleine Moon,
Chair, Defence Sub-Committee

I come to this having had no constituency involvement in this issue at all, but I have been listening to the exchanges this morning and it is quite clear that the level of concern on both sides of the House is sufficient for the Government to call a debate on the matter in Government time, so that all these issues can be properly explored.

Philip Hollobone,
Conservative, Kettering

Is the Minister aware of the study in 1979 from Primodos that concluded that the visceral malformations should be considered to be drug-related? The manufacturer seems to have made a link that does not appear to have been dealt with in the report. Does he acknowledge that serious concern is being expressed on both sides of the House about the transparency of this report and that it behoves us all to try to make it transparent and understandable and, above all, to get to the correct answer?

Martin Whitfield,
Labour, East Lothian

The report must be judged against the background of the fact that the thalidomide scandal involved only 20 birth defects in America and 2,000 in this country, that we are still misinforming and under-informing mothers and potential mothers about the valproate scandal and that GlaxoSmithKline was fined $3 billion for distorting the results of its research. The Minister must tell us how many members of the expert group are present or past employees of the pharmaceutical industry.

Paul Flynn,
Labour, Newport West

I have a constituent who has been affected by this issue, and they want justice. Based on what I have heard today, justice has fallen short in this case. In any normal circumstances, justice must not only be done, but it must be seen to be done. If the criteria have not been applied correctly, we would in normal circumstances have a review to get the correct decision in the end. Will the Minister look at the matter and get it reviewed?

Rehman Chishti,
Conservative, Gillingham and Rainham

Is the Minister aware that in all the years that I have been here, I have never heard of such a decision, particularly one made by this party, presented by a Minister of Health who is constantly telling us all about the Stafford inquiry and how important the last Stafford inquiry was? It is time that he considered the possibility of having this thing reviewed, bearing in mind that we are dealing with drug firms that have millions and millions of pounds. He should start all over again from the beginning. It will otherwise be a bad day for the Government if he is allowed to say what he has without listening to the people from both sides of the House who have rubbished the report.

Dennis Skinner,
Labour, Bolsover

As has been said, this is absolutely not a party matter. Colleagues have expressed their interest in a debate on this matter, and I can simply say from the Chair that, one way or the other, through one vehicle or another, this matter will be debated if Members want it to be debated.

John Bercow,
Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

House of Commons

Urgent Question: Hormone pregnancy tests,
Thursday 16 November 2017, check from 10:40 to 11:11 here.

UK Commission on Human Medicines

  • Report of the Commission on Human Medicines’ Expert Working Group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests,
  • Referral letter for genetic testing,
  • Press coverage,

More About Primodos

Médicaments dangereux : à qui la faute ?

Ce que les missions d’enquête ne vous diront jamais

Sang contaminé, hormone de croissance, Distilbène, cérivastatine, Vioxx, Acomplia, Avandia, Di-Antalvic, vaccins contre l’hépatite B, la grippe ou le cancer de l’utérus : les gens n’en peuvent plus de constater que rien ne change malgré l’accumulation des scandales pharmaceutiques, et qu’en plus, tout semble s’aggraver dans une ambiance révoltante d’impunité.

Il s’agit donc de dire aux citoyens qu’ils ont raison d’être inquiets, de leur montrer que les réformes qu’on leur propose n’ont d’autre objectif que d’aggraver les conditions qui ont rendu possibles tous ces scandales, de les convaincre enfin qu’ils n’ont aucun motif sérieux de retrouver la confiance. Bref : de leur donner des éléments de fait suffisants pour inspirer leur protestation et alimenter leur résistance.

On partira le plus souvent d’expériences concrètes dont l’interprétation saute déjà aux yeux du plus profane, pour en tirer matière à une réflexion plus abstraite, tout en essayant de caractériser le rôle des principaux acteurs à l’œuvre : les médecins, les experts, les journalistes, les fabricants.

Les affaires associées à des médicaments dangereux se succèdent et ébranlent toujours plus la confiance des consommateurs dans l’industrie pharmaceutique.

Table des matières

Chap. 1 – Les médecins
– Dérive vers le préventif
– Information médicale
– Sens des sources
– “Le roman de la médecine”

Chap. 2 – Les experts
– Conflits d’intérêts
– Rôle des décideurs
– Impunité et inamovibilité
– Incompétence
– L’illusion du processus collégial
– Erreur et obstination

Chap. 3 – Les journalistes
– Déontologie
– Formation intellectuelle
– Vérification des sources
– Conflits d’intérêts

Chap. 4 – Les fabricants
– Un monde méconnu
– Inflation réglementaire
– Innovation
– Un business insolent
– Associations de patients
– Risque zéro

En Savoir Plus
Site Web du Dr Marc Girard.
Commentaires clients sur Amazon.

Causal Association Between Primodos and Birth Defects : the EWG report

Report of the Commission on Human Medicines’ Expert Working Group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests

An Expert Working Group (EWG) of the UK’s Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) has published their report on the use of hormone pregnancy tests (HPTs) and adverse effects relating to pregnancy including possible birth defects.

Sky’s Jason Farrell confirms alleged victims of pregnancy test Primodos slam EWG report which found the drug was not responsible for serious birth defects. Campaigners say that the hormone pregnancy test review was a complete whitewash.

Commission on Human Medicines

  • Report of the Commission on Human Medicines’ Expert Working Group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests,
  • Referral letter for genetic testing,
  • Press coverage,

More About Primodos

Primodos EWG Report : Jason Farrell Reveals

Report of the Commission on Human Medicines’ Expert Working Group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests

An Expert Working Group (EWG) of the UK’s Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) has published their report on the use of hormone pregnancy tests (HPTs) and adverse effects relating to pregnancy including possible birth defects.

Sky’s Jason Farrell shares some thoughts.

Commission on Human Medicines

  • Report of the Commission on Human Medicines’ Expert Working Group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests,
  • Referral letter for genetic testing,
  • Press coverage,

More About Primodos