Safe replacements for insecticides enabled by biotechnology

Banner image displaying corn field

What is Olefine?

Nowadays everybody is aware of the toxic effects of the conventional insecticides that are used to protect our plants from pest insects. The insecticides are harmful for the farmer, who sprays them on the field, for the pollinating insects, e.g., bees, and insecticide residues on fruits and vegetables are harmful for the consumer. But are there other safer ways to protect the plants from pest insects?

Yes, one of most promising methods is mating disruption, where small amounts of insect sex pheromones are released in the field to prevent the males from finding the insect females. This way females do not get fertilized and can not lay eggs that develop into larvae eating the plants. The technology is simple and effective, but until now quite expensive.

The EU-funded project OLEFINE will solve this problem, making pheromones so cheap that they will become an affordable alternative to insecticides. Currently, pheromones are produced by chemical synthesis, which is an expensive and polluting process. The scientists in OLEFINE will use biotechnology instead to produce pheromones at low cost by brewing, in the same way how insulin is made for diabetes treatment and enzymes are produced for washing powders.

News and Social

  • Pheromones, mulch and wildflowers – how to control pests without pesticides (March 17, 2021)

    Check out the new article publishe in HORIZON - The EU Research and Innovation Magazine. Please visit the website for more information -> HORIZON - The EU Research and Innovation Mahazine

  • Insect sex pheromones as safe replacements for insecticides (October 28, 2019)

  • Irina Borodina wins 2019 EU Prize for Women Innovators (May 16, 2019)

    BioPhero’s Founder and CTO, Irina Borodina, is awarded the 2019 EU Prize for Women Innovators as announced by Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, at this year’s VivaTech conference in Paris.

  • Dr. Leoni Wenning joins BioPhero on Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (April 01, 2019)

    Dr. Leonie Wenning receives a prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to join BioPhero as a Research Scientist and develop new pheromone products.

  • 2019 Equinor Prize awarded to Irina Borodina, Founder and CTO of Biophero (March 15, 2019)

    BioPhero’s Founder and CTO Irina Borodina was awarded the prestigious Equinor Prize 2019 at an official ceremony at The National Museum of Denmark. -> DTU Biosustain Press Release

  • Danks Kemi features BioPhero's technology and origin story (March 01, 2019)

    See the whole story here (in Danish only) -> Dansk Kemi

  • We can revolutionise pest management (January 22, 2019)

    BioPhero has been featured in Technologist! The Technologist magazine publishes exclusive articles every week that explain issues related to scientific research and innovation. Access is completely free: www.Technologist.eu Technologist is an initiative from EuroTech alliance, a strategic partnership of five leading European universities of science & technology: Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Ecole Polytechnique (L’X), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Technical University of Munich (TUM).

  • Biological Pheromones in fight against pests (December 13, 2018)

    OLEFINE newsletter “Biological Pheromones in fight against pests” motivating the core principles of using pheromones and their benefits versus insecticides.

  • BioPhero ApS has announced the closing of a seed investment of €3 million by Novo Seeds, Syngenta Ventures and Syddansk Innovation (September 17, 2018)

    BioPhero ApS has announced the closing of a seed investment of €3 million by Novo Seeds, Syngenta Ventures and Syddansk Innovation. As part of the investment, Novo Seeds, Syngenta Ventures and Syddansk Innovation have joined the board, and Mr. Hadyn Parry has joined BioPhero’s board as the new chairman. Kristian Ebbensgaard, has been appointed as the CEO of BioPhero, while Dr. Irina Borodina has been appointed as the Research Director.

  • The OLEFINE EU Horizon 2020 project is featured in The Guardian (June 12, 2018)

    To see the whole text click here -> The Guardian

  • The OLEFINE EU Horizon 2020 project introduced at the National Center for Scientific Research "Demokritos" (June 12, 2018)

    ChThe Laboratory of Chemical Ecology and Natural Products of the Institute of Biosciences and Applications, NCSR “Demokritos”, led by Dr. Maria Konstantopoulou, participates in the European OLEFINE (OLEFINE yeast platforms for FINE chemicals) HORIZON2020 (Grant Agreement No. 760798). The program, which lasts 48 months, involves 5 academics and 4 industrial partners. Read more here -> Demokritos

  • BioPhero will participate at the Metabolic Engineering Conference in Munich in June 2018 (April 25, 2018)

    BioPhero will present the results on biological production of pheromones at Metabolic Engineering Conference in Munich, Germany on the 27th June 2018. Please visit the website for more information -> Metabolic Engineering Conference

  • Next Olefine Project Meeting at DTU, 4th of May 2018 (April 03, 2018)

    The next project meeting will be held at DTU on 4th of May 2018. All partners are invited to join the next Half-Annual Meeting at DTU, Denmark.

  • Kick-off meeting (January 16, 2018)

    All partners gathered in Brussels for the official start of OLEFINE project.




Scientific partners

Industrial partners