The discovery or research process for new pesticides involves the synthesis of candidate molecules which are subjected to tests designed to demonstrate their biological activity. A screening process includes a number of increasingly complex stages to ensure that the molecule has suitable biological activity, possesses appropriate toxicological and environmental properties, and has good commercial prospects. New technologies have enhanced the synthesis stage, enabling the processing of large numbers of molecules in a relatively short time frame. Biological research has also been enhanced through the use of genomics as a means for the discovery of new active molecules and potential sites of activity within target organisms.
The development of a pesticide encompasses a range of processes which are all aimed at developing the product for subsequent commercialisation. This involves the testing and optimisation of a variety of formulations to ensure safe and effective use. Biological development of the new crop protection product is designed to investigate the activity of the product against a variety of target pests, weeds or diseases in a number of crops under a variety of environmental situations. Studies are conducted in actual field situations and comprise both small and large-scale field trials. As well as testing the relative efficacy of a new product, field trials are used as a basis for the determination of the environmental fate of the molecule and its metabolites.