Messenger a foliar-applied product that enhances a plant's ability to ward off attacks by fungal organisms, has been registered by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) for use on strawberries for disease management.

The compound received federal EPA approval last April for full commercial use. It is produced and marketed by Eden Bioscience Corp., Bothell, Wash.

“We are very pleased to have received our first registration from CDPR for the use of Messenger on strawberries,” said Jerry Butler, president and chief executive officer of Eden Bioscience.

“Even though the registration was received late in the spring growing season, we began filling orders as soon as California-labeled product was available. With the strawberry registration now in place, we will file for registration in California for use of Messenger on other crops, beginning with grapes, tomatoes, and peppers.”

The active ingredient in Messenger is based on a naturally occurring protein called harpin. Foliar applications of Messenger trigger natural defense systems in the plant to protect against disease, which in turn leads to improved crop yield, post-harvest fruit quality and higher value fruit, according to the company.

Messenger has low use rates and does not disrupt predatory mites or beneficial insects, including honeybees. Moreover, it is virtually non-toxic, leaves no detectable residue on treated crops, and poses no threat to the environment. The field re-entry period is re-entered in four hours, and there is no pre-harvest interval.