Introduction

The spinosyns are a unique family of insecticidal secondary metabolites produced by two relatively rare species of soil-dwelling bacteria, Sacchar-opolyspora spinosa and Saccharopolyspora sp. NRRL30141, a new species tentatively named Saccharopolyspora pogona (see Figure 5.1).1 3 Both species are aerobic, gram-positive, non-motile, spore-forming, filamentous actinomy-cetes.3,4 The term spinosyns derives from the species name, "spinosa".

Two insecticide active ingredients, spinosad and spinetoram, have been developed from the spinosyn family of secondary metabolites. When spinosad received its first crop registration in the United States in 1997, it was among the first insecticides recognized as "reduced risk'' by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).5 At that time, spinosad provided a unique combination of high efficacy against a wide range of insect pest species, low toxicity to mammals and other nontarget organisms, and minimal persistence in the environment. As a result of these attributes, spinosad received a

RSC Green Chemistry No. 11 Green Trends in Insect Control

Edited by Oscar Lopez and Jose G. Fernandez-Bolaiios © Royal Society of Chemistry 2011

Published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, www.rsc.org

Figure 5.1 Scanning electron micrographs of sporulating Saccharopolyspora spinosa (left) and Saccharopolyspora pogona (right). (Magnification: 20 000x).

Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 1999, and has since become a major tool in the management of arthropod pests in agricultural and horticultural crops, animal production and public health.6 Spinetoram, the second active ingredient in the spinosyn class, received its first registration in 2007. Spinetoram has attributes not possessed by spinosad that enable it to control a wider range of pests, especially in tree fruits, while retaining toxicological and environmental properties similar to spinosad.7'8 For these reasons, spinetoram received a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2008.

The spinosyns have become a major insecticide group; products containing spinosad or spinetoram are registered in over 80 countries and on more that 250 crops, with several registrations for non-crop uses. In the time since the discovery of the spinosyns in 1991, a large volume of research has been published, including several significant review articles focusing on the chemistry and biochemistry of the spinosyns.913 The purpose of this chapter is to take a broader view and summarize salient information across the diverse disciplines of chemistry, biochemistry, biology, regulatory sciences, manufacturing and commerce to provide a comprehensive understanding of the spinosyns as highly effective green chemicals for insect pest management.

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