What is Colbics?

Colbics is a Marie-Curie Project supporting the collaboration between academic and commercial sectors on the development of biological control solutions to manage crop pests.

Three companies developing biological control solutions (natural enemies of crop pests) and three universities or research institutes tightly collaborate on common R&D programs, in an attempt to find new R&D methods and ultimately setup new or improved products, as well as optimized production and quality-control or traceability methods.

The three companies involved: Biobest (Belgium), InVivo Agrosolutions (IAS, France) and Anasac-Xilema (Chile).

The three academic partners: INRA (France), Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (UPV, Spain) and Universidad Catolica de Chile (UC, Chile).

In practice, Colbics is structured in three R&D teams in the context of the R&D programs of the three companies involved:

  • the team Biobest-UPV-INRA 
  • the team IAS-INRA-UC
  • the team Anasac-Xilema-UC-INRA

Illustration-INRA (3)

Four axes of innovation are considered in Colbics:

  • The use of DNA characterisation techniques to assist the research of new biological control solutions, and support quality-control or traceability in industrial production settings.
  • The screening and use of intra-specific diversity to select best-performing  natural enemy populations and improve the efficiency of biocontrol products.
  • The promotion of biocontrol products through the benchmark of products and their compatibility with other crop protection techniques.
  • The design of informatic tools helping farm-advisors, producers and biological control companies to optimize their use of biological control solutions in Integrated Pest Management packages.

The work carried out is further used to generate generic knowledge on evolutionary and ecological processes likely to be relevant in the frame of the development of production of biological control solutions.

Expected outcomes of Colbics are of several types: 
  • for the commercial sector: new biological control products or packages of products, improved production methods, quality-control and traceability procedures, increased sales.
  • for the public sector: characterisation of unknown biodiversity of pests and natural enemies, tests of evolutionary and ecological hypotheses, development of model-based predictive methods.