The correct identification of pest species is a crucial step for pest management. According to María Córdoba, founder of Deroceras, «having a precise knowledge on the pest species we are dealing with is the first step to take before setting up the pest control strategy. In many cases, DNA barcoding is the only way we have to do it».
DNA barcoding consists of the generation and analysis of DNA sequences from pest species, such as fungi and insects, for identification purposes. «For instance, this technology allows us to know which species an insect larva belongs to, even in the absence of diagnostic morphological characters», Joaquín Vierna, General Manager at AllGenetics, says. Although this technology relies on previous molecular work on each particular group of species, it is always a powerful tool. As María Córdoba explains, «we can obtain DNA sequences from fungal samples taken along the slope of a mountain, compare them, check how variable they are, and infer the number of strains or species that occur».
Both companies were founded by young scientists from the universities of Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña (Galicia, Spain) and have been distinguished as IEBT (technology-based employment initiative) by the Regional Government.
Deroceras provides research-based solutions for intelligent pest control in agriculture. The company offers a variety of high-quality products at a national and international level, such as integrated pest management, laboratory trials, specialised consulting in biological control methods, and development of forecasting models of abundance and/or activity to advise on the application of phytosanitary measures.
AllGenetics provides services in the areas of genetics and molecular biology to researchers, corporations, and institutions world-wide. Even though there are several areas in which the company is currently working on, a very important part of their work focuses on the application of molecular genetic techniques in ecology and biodiversity studies.