The search for and the selection of a new agent is the first step in the developmental process of a microbial pest control product (MPCP). It requires a screening procedure with relevant evaluation criteria for a commercial product. This selection step should address appropriate biological, technical and economic aspects that play a key role in the entire product development, and in the marketing of the product. The criteria differ per type of organism and depend on the ultimate use of the product. Although each product demands its specific criteria, several general criteria can be identified. The actual screening process is preceded by an exploratory phase in

W.J. Ravensberg, A Roadmap to the Successful Development and Commercialization 23

of Microbial Pest Control Products for Control of Arthropods, Progress in Biological Control 10, DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-0437-4_2, © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

which the problem that needs to be solved is well-described as well as the foreseen solution. During this phase the research direction must be established and applied to the entire process.

Approaches used to find and select a microbial pest control agent by academic and industrial scientists are compared. Apparently, well-defined selection criteria are not provided in the current literature. Therefore, these will be identified in this chapter. Biological characteristics of the four types of insect pathogens are reviewed in relation to screening methods as well as to critical factors in the selection of isolates. The most important selection criteria and biological parameters related to these criteria will be described, and arguments will be provided as to why these criteria are determinative for a commercial product. In the conclusion, I will discuss the results of the selection procedure in relation to the decision whether to continue the development of a new product based on (one of) the selected isolate(s). Further, I will provide recommendations for the use of bio-assays in the screening process and the other steps in the selection procedure.

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