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Biocides are poisons, chemical substances used to kill or sterilize unwanted life-forms. Biocides are commonly used in medicine, agriculture, forestry, food-processing and industry. Biocides may be synthetic or naturally derived and concentrated.

Biocides are usually intended to control a specific pest or class of pests (more broadly - they are used to control a ecosystem interaction or class of interactions) yet they usually have unintended consequences by killing populations outside the targeted species, outside the targeted area and outside the targeted timeframe. Sometimes these unintended consequences are acute and immediately devastating, sometimes they are sub-acute and go relatively unnoticed.

Philosophy of control(How can/should we control natural systems?)

Types of Biocide

A biocide can target:

  • Fungi, mold or yeast: fungicides,
  • Plants: herbicides, algicides,
  • Insects: insecticides, miticides
  • Mammals: rodenticides.
  • Microbes: germicides, antibiotics, antibacterials, antimicrobials, antivirals, antifungals, antiprotozoals and antiparasites
  • Cells: spermicide, anti-cancer drugs