Dr Steven Reid
Dr Steven Reid

Increased resistance to chemical pesticides and concern over their use has seen renewed interest in the application of biological means to control pests of commercial importance. The Reid Group is involved with the advancement of technology that is necessary to reduce the cost of production of biological control agents. This research is concerned initially with the effective scale-up of insect viruses.

Many wild type Baculoviruses exist that can specifically infect and kill key agricultural caterpillar pests. Bacloviruses are the largest viruses known (1 micron in diameter), because they wrap their genomes up in large protein coats (Occlusion Bodies). This enables the virus to be stable in the open environment and they are able to be delivered to crops using conventional land and air based spraying procedures.

Our laboratory has a process patent on a procedure for producing Baculoviruses via fermentation. Our lead product is a Baculovirus which targets the Helicoverpa pest species which accounts for a $US3.2 billion per annum market. At current yields our production costs would allow us to target Helicoverpa pest species in areas where this pest is resistant to most low cost chemical options ($15/Ha), and where only more expensive chemicals are in use ($30-$50/Ha).  Further improvements in yield would allow the product to compete on cost alone in all markets, including extensive markets in India and China.

Research Projects

  • Pilot Scale Production of Helicoverpa armigera nucleopolyhedrovirus.
  • Expression of the key viral FP25K gene in the Heliothis cell line.

More information about these research projects can be found at the Centre for Systems and Synthetic Biology website

Key publications

Chan L, Reid S, Nielsen LK. (2010) The kinetics of virus production from cell culture. In Wiley Encyclopedia of Industrial Biotechnology (Flickinger MC, Ed.), pp. 1-24, Hoboken, NJ, US.
Pedrini MRS, Chan LCL, Nielsen LK, Reid S. (2006) In vitro production of Helicoverpa armigera single-nucleocapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus. Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology 49 (special issue), 35-41.
Pedrini MRS, Christian P, Nielsen LK, Reid S, Chan LCL. (2006) Importance of virus-medium interactions on the biological activity of wild-type Heliothine nucleopolyhedroviruses propagated via suspension insect cell cultures. J Virol Methods 136, 267-272.
Pedrini MRS, Nielsen LK, Reid S, Chan LCL. (2005) Properties of a Unique Mutant of Helicoverpa Armigera Single - Nucleocapsid Nucleopolyhedrovirus that Exhibits a Partial Many Polyhedra and Few Polyhedra Phenotype on Extended Serial Passaging in Suspension Cell Cultures. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol - Animal 41, 289-297.
Bioprocess technology - Steven Reid section

Baculovirus biopesticides

Project keywords Systems Biology, Systems Biotechnology, Sustainability, Fermentation, Baculovirus, Biopesticide Project summary Many of the most significant pests of agriculture and forestry, and vectors of human disease...

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