Tutavir from Andermatt Biocontrol wins 2019 Bernard Blum Award


The winner of the 2019 Bernard Blum award was announced at the opening ceremony of ABIM 2019 in Basel, Switzerland, on 21 October.
The prize went to Tutavir from Andermatt Biocontrol. The product contains Phthorimaea operculella granulovirus (PhopGV) for selective control of Tuta absoluta, the tomato leafminer. Tutavir won from a short-list of three products.

The Bernard Blum Award was launched in 2015 by the IBMA to commemorate its founding president.

Before the winner was announced, the chairman of the judging panel and former IBMA president Owen Jones reminded the audience of the three criteria required for a product to be considered for the award. It must have a sound scientific basis; have a substantial degree of innovation; and thirdly, have a good market opportunity.

Former IBMA executive director David Cary said this year’s award had attracted seven nominations, all of which were accepted. Cary said all IBMA’s professional groups were represented in the nominations. Unusually, there were two bioherbicide products, and a microbial product that was not for protected agriculture, but for open fields and vineyards.

The award was received by Andermatt Biocontrol’s Director of International Market Development, Dr. Philip Kessler.

In his acceptance presentation, Kessler said this was the first granulovirus product for Tuta absoluta. “It brings a new mode of action into the [biocontrol] strategies,” he explained. “It’s safe, doesn’t harm beneficial insects, or the consumer,” he added.

The other two products shortlisted were:
Biohelp GmbH in cooperation with University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, BOKU, Vienna, Austria for the product Ailantex, a microbial herbicide for the control of highly invasive neophyte Ailanthus altissima, also known as tree of heaven.

The third short-listed product was Gowan’s EcoSwing, a botanical, biologically based fungicide that controls a number of fungal diseases such as powdery mildew, botrytis and monilinia.

Bernard Blum Winner 2019 web

Image Caption: From Left to Right: Sylvia Plak, President IBMA, Jennifer Lewis Executive Director IBMA,
Andermatt Biocontrol Director of International Market Development Dr. Philip Kessler,
New Ag International Chief Editor Luke Hutson.
Image courtesy: ABIM Steering Committee

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