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 New insight into why Pierce's disease is so deadly to grapevines
11.06.2018 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Where are Europe’s last primary forests?
29.05.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

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: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel method for investigating pore geometry in rocks

18.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Diamond watch components

18.06.2018 | Process Engineering

New type of photosynthesis discovered

18.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>