University of Glasgow develops eco-friendly pesticides

The University of Glasgow has been leading an award-winning nEUROSTRESSPEP (EU) project to create green insecticides which aim to control pests without the toxic side-effects to pollinators, land and human health that conventional pesticides can cause. Additionally, pests can grow resistant to the chemicals in pesticides meaning that their use damages land and health without the intended benefits to the agricultural industry. The new ‘biopesticides’ target specific pests while simultaneously protecting beneficial and pollinator species. Professor Shireen Davies of the Institute of Molecular, Cell & Systems Biology hopes these will lead to a revolution in sustainable agriculture and food security. The project is funded by Scottish Enterprise and the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council.

The research has led to the creation of a spin-out company, SOLASTA Bio, a specialist green insecticides company which is amongst the first of its kind globally. Solasta Bio develops peptide-based bioinsecticides which are efficacious and safe for non-target organisms and the environment, based on insect neuropeptides which regulate essential physiological functions.

The formation of the company represents the culmination of a 4-year translational research journey, taking fundamental research directly into the applied and commercial sphere.