Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ISU researchers study insecticide-free method for control of soybean aphids

17.09.2009
Two Iowa State University researchers are examining a new method of controlling soybean aphids without the use of chemical pesticides.

Bryony Bonning, professor of entomology, and Allen Miller, professor of plant pathology and director of the Center for Plant Responses to Environmental Stresses, are looking at a way to genetically modify soybeans to prevent damage from aphids.

If the research is successful, soybeans will carry in-plant protection from aphids, similar to the way genetically modified corn now keeps the European Corn Borer from destroying corn yields, but using a different molecular tool. Modified corn technology has been in use for about 12 years.

The study is being funded by a Grow Iowa Values Fund Grant. The goal of the grant program is to support development of technologies with commercial potential and to support the growth of companies using those technologies.

The researchers are working with Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, as their corporate partner.

Previous research at Iowa State University indicated that if major soybean aphid outbreaks were left untreated, the loss in yield could exceed $250 million in Iowa. The annual cost to prevent the yield loss with insecticides can reach $64 million for Iowa soybean growers.

Soybean aphid outbreaks have become an annual phenomenon in Iowa, according to Miller.

The current research focuses on introducing a gene into soybeans that is harmless to mammals, but creates a toxin that is lethal to aphids that feed on soybean plants.

In order to be effective, the toxin needs to be taken intact into the body cavity of the aphid, not broken down by the digestive system in the bug.

Miller and Bonning identified a plant virus coat protein eaten by soybean aphids that doesn't break down and goes into the aphid body cavity intact.

They know the virus coat protein remains intact because the aphids often spread the virus from plant to plant while they are feeding.

Coat proteins make up the outer shell of a virus particle.

The researchers devised a method to use virus coat proteins to their advantage. The researchers have fused their toxin to the virus' protein coat. Since the protein coat is only part of the virus to be used, there is no risk of an infectious virus. Also, the coat protein is from a virus that normally doesn't infect soybeans.

When the hybrid toxin coat protein is eaten by the aphid, the fatal toxin should get into the aphid body cavity intact.

"What we thought was, if this (virus) protein has this ability to be taken up into the aphid (intact), let's take advantage of that specialization and fuse that to other proteins that are toxic," said Miller.

In addition to possibly curbing the aphid problem and the yield loss it causes, there are other benefits to the farmers and the ecosystems.

"The (potential) economic impact overall is huge," said Bonning. "There will be less insecticide use, and also less fossil fuel used to apply the insecticides."

Also, spraying soybeans with insecticides doesn't just control the aphids, according to Bonning.

"When you spray, you also control beneficial insects," said Bonning. "Lady beetles are affected, for example, and they are a natural enemy of the aphids. So when the aphids come back to a field after spraying, there won't be any lady beetles to naturally control the aphid populations."

Miller adds that if growers spray for aphids and don't eliminate them all, the aphids simply disperse to other fields, making the problem worse.

"There are many reasons not to spray, but you can't tell the growers to stop spraying until you give them an alternative for soybean aphid management," said Bonning.

Bryony Bonning | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iastate.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>