JMDThèque technology allows, via moving optomechatronic components, to operate synchronous laser multibeam scanning for high-accuracy and high-energy projection on predetermined surfaces. The JMDThèque’s technological break process consists in developing an innovative mini-robot called “BlastHopperTM” (and later a networking mini-robots fleet), fully automated and fitted out a laser technology to fight against insects/parasites pests on various types of agricultural lands (cereals, fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and flowers)...
Pesticides global market since 1990 (in billion dollars - Source UIPP)
Pesticides global market distribution (in % - Source UIPP, 30 725 billion dollars in 2004)
The worldwide market, about 30 billion euro, is globally stable over recent years (2000). It should be noted that some recent climatic events (heat and drought in Europe, rain in Oceania) strongly influence the market. In Europe and North America, herbicides represent 70 to 80 % of the used products (especially because of the corn-growing areas increase), whereas in the Tropics 50 % of applied products are insecticides. Crops diversification, with the improvement of standard of living in some countries, also changes the equilibrium. Thus China has converted the equivalent of the England’s surface in rice fields and vegetable crops, leading to a diversification of products implemented. The non-agricultural uses of pesticides account approximatively for 12% of the global market (note that in France, non-agricultural uses account for 6 to 10%). From the 60s, pesticides and fertilizers have resulted to increase productivity by 3, losses to crops still represent nearly 30% in Europe for the maize against 50% in Africa, less than 30% in Asia for the rice against 50% in Africa. Despite the considerable efforts made, one billion people are still malnourished and in 2050 the global population will increase by 2.
Pesticides global market
Thereby, when other insects are affected by these treatments, including predatory insects, an important and abnormal development of the pests’ population may occur. On large farms, interventions have a significant cost. Treat a cornfield against corn borer costs about € 20 per hectare if the application is made by land and € 40 by flight path… the price of about five hundred kilograms of grains.
Conventional insecticide spreading
Use of chimical attractive/repulsive agents: it is the more frequently used process. The pesticides (insecticides / fungicides / herbicides / antiparasitics) used have a certain efficiency, but these products are not trivial and should be handle with care during their handling and use… If the advocated conditions of use are disregarded, treatments can have negative effects on the Environment…
3) Chemical control:
Use of synthetic pheromones placed in suitable traps ( to estimate the population of a particular insect pest before its eradication by chemical method….). Note that some synthetic pheromones are intended to limit/break the chemical communication between males and females to make reproduction impossible. The synthetic pheromones have a relatively high production cost, a delay of action more or less long and their high specificity limits the range of targeted pests.
Use of some predatory insects (ladybug, bug…), fungi (Beauveria bassiana…), bacteria/virus (Bacillus thurengiensis…). These three methods are environmentally friendly, but their effectiveness is never complete: it depends on the infestation’s intensity, the stage of intervention, the climatic conditions. Moreover, in the case of treatment by bacteria/virus, the active substance must be added to some harmful additives (for protection against UV radiation, rain and/or promoting foliage’s adhesion), and the treatment remains very selective.
Faced with aphids, the ladybug is an
environmentally friendly solution of choice…
2) Biological control:
The vast majority of insects/parasites pests are naturally present in the environment where they reproduce spontaneously according to their host plant(s) dynamic: the more the plant is grown on a large scale, the more the insects/parasites population will be important and affect the expected production earnings… Some insects/parasites pests were accidentally imported (Colorado potato beetle or CPB, phylloxera…): recently added in a territory, they have no predator and often adopt a new aggressive behavior for crops.
The damages on crops by pests are of various kinds: they may be the result of the insects' alimentation (both adults and larvae), their bites (transmission of viruses, destruction of tissues…), or their excretions (honeydew promoting the development of fungi). Note that each pest attacks a specific part of its host plant: leaf, stem, root, flower, fruit… at all steps of their development, including stored harvests products.
Faced with these plagues, various methods are being used with more or less success:
1) Crops rotation:
Very effective but not always possible to implement because heavily dependent on the nature/composition of the land and requirements imposed by certain cultivations (specific exposure for minimum/maximum period of sunshine, acidity, humidity…)
Methods against crop-destroying insects/parasites pests