A step forward in all-natural pesticides

Scientists may have developed a method for using a plant's natural repellent to ward off pests.

Plants attacked by pests produce a repellent chemical called jasmonic acid. Scientists have long known that spraying this natural pesticide on crops helps protect them from bugs. Using it agriculturally might preclude the need for environmentally damaging human-made pesticides or genetically modifying plants to resist pests. So why haven’t farmers adopted it? It turns out that treated plants grow more slowly.

Now, scientists at Lancaster University’s Environment Centre and Stockbridge Technology Centre in Britain may have devised a way to use jasmonic acid’s repellent power without slowing plant growth. The secret? Dip seeds in it. Exposure to jasmonic acid primes resistance to pest attack later when seeds become plants. The protective effect lasts at least 10 weeks after germination. In the lab, it cut mite attacks on tomatoes by 80 percent, aphid attacks on peppers by 70 percent, and caterpillar damage to corn by 38 percent.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK