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Bioinsecticide offers new tool for control of lepidopteran pests in wide range of crops, including rice, citrus, tree nuts and vegetables

Todd Fitchette, Associate Editor

June 25, 2019

2 Min Read
Artichokes are among the many crops labeled to use a new mode-of-action bioinsecticide said to control lepidopteran pests.Todd Fitchette

Boosted by $40 million in private equity money, Vestaron is transitioning from a company that does only research and development to one that produces and markets its own line of crop protection products.

Vestaron boasts a proprietary platform for the optimization and production of peptide-based biopesticides.

The company says this offers the best of both worlds when fighting insects. Vestaron Chief Executive Officer Anna Rath states in a video on the company website that unlike many biological microbes, which are environmentally friendly but can be less effective in killing pests than traditional synthetic molecules, the peptide-based insecticides offer similar control to synthetic materials with the benefits of biological materials.

“Vestaron is at the forefront of a revolutionary transition in crop protection, from an industry based predominantly on small molecule synthetics to one where biologic molecules with proven modes of action as well as great safety and environmental attributes will play a major role,” Rath said in a prepared statement.

Earlier this year Vestaron gained California registration for Spear-LEP, a bioinsecticide used to control lepidopterans in fruits, vegetables and other high-value crops. It’s said to use a “novel mode of action” in that it controls insects through ingestion, allowing the peptide to attack the nervous system.

The product is labeled for a wide range of vegetable, cole, and field crops against pests including diamond back moth, cutworms, armyworm and a host of other pests. Included in the label are carrots, onions, broccoli, melons, cotton, sorghum and mint. Citrus, almonds, walnuts, pecans, blueberries, stone fruit, avocados, kiwi and pomegranate are also on the label.

A similar label is in place at the federal level.

Read the label for a complete description of pests controlled, approved crops and for specific application instructions.

In addition to the recent funding and label announcements, Vestaron named Ash Patel to serve as the company’s new chief operations officer, and Jessica Vanhoy as the company’s chief financial officer.


About the Author(s)

Todd Fitchette

Associate Editor, Western Farm Press

Todd Fitchette, associate editor with Western Farm Press, spent much of his journalism career covering agriculture in California and the western United States. Aside from reporting about issues related to farm production, environmental regulations and legislative matters, he has extensive experience covering the dairy industry, western water issues and politics. His journalistic experience includes local daily and weekly newspapers, where he was recognized early in his career as an award-winning news photographer.

Fitchette is US Army veteran and a graduate of California State University, Chico. 

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