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NMX - New Organic Pesticide Shows Promise

A new organic pesticide developed at New Mexico State University is showing great promise. Called NMX, the essential oil-based pesticide is a safe alternative to conventional chemical pesticides and solutions. NMSU Microbiologist Geoffrey Smith developed NMX with a team of three researchers, who discovered that a mixture of essential oils from common desert plants can help defend against fungus, bacteria, nematodes and some insects, such as thrips. Individual components in the essential oils have been used before as pesticides, but the NMSU team found that by keeping all the elements together, the essential oils had a synergistic effect that is much more powerful.

The product has already been tested in laboratory, greenhouse and field trials in the U.S. and Mexico on a variety of plants, including tomatoes, chile, bell peppers onions and turfgrass. If approved for commercialization, the new eco-friendly product could find a ready market in California’s Salinas Valley, where some of the world’s biggest organic commercial growers are based including growers of leafy vegetables, which today have very few natural pesticides to protect their crops.

Canada is California's top agricultural export market. We imported a total of $6.6B in bilateral agricultural trade in 2014 which included $1.7B in fruit and nuts and over $914M in vegetables. That includes $271 million in strawberries alone. That's a lot of pesticide residue.