Q. 56 What is meant by the term biopesticide? Name and explain the mode of action of a popular biopesticide.

Biopesticide is a pesticide which is

(i) Not chemical in nature.
(ii) More specific in action against the pest
(iii) Safer for environment than chemical pesticides.

A popularly known bio-pesticide is Bt toxin, which is produced by a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis. Bt toxin gene has been cloned from this bacterium and expressed in plants.
Bt toxin protein when ingested by the insect, gets converted to its active form due to the alkallne pH of the gut.

The activated toxin binds to the surface of midgut epithelial cells and create pores that causes swelling and lysis of the cell and eventually kills the insect.