Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Time for some intelligence in the war on the cotton bollworm

18.08.2006
Indian and Australian scientists unite for the fight

With Australian help, Indian farmers are fighting back against the world’s worst agricultural pest—the cotton bollworm—which costs $5 billion a year worldwide.

The farmers are reducing the use of insecticides by about a half, while increasing crop yields by 11 per cent and profitability by 75 per cent.

But the bollworm is rapidly evolving resistance to the insecticides. New weapons are needed and researchers say it’s time to design these weapons using the best intelligence available—the genome.

For an investment of only $10 million, agricultural biotechnologists can help farmers turn the tide in the war against this expensive pest.

That’s all it would take, says A/Prof Phil Batterham of Melbourne’s Bio 21 Institute, to unravel the complete genome sequence of the bollworm moth, which infests more than 100 species of agricultural and horticultural crop plants all over the world.

The genome could then be screened to determine what genes make the bollworm resistant to pesticides, and where the pest is most vulnerable to attack. The genetic data could also be used to understand the population structure and track the movements of the bollworm, essential information for planning an effective attack on the insect.

“The bollworm is the number one pest confronting global agriculture,” Batterham told the Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference (ABIC) at the Melbourne Convention Centre.

“You wouldn’t normally go to war against such an enemy without knowing where he’s vulnerable, what his defences are, and who our allies are. But that’s what we do in fighting this pest.”

He says that much of the intelligence we need is contained in the genome sequence.”

Batterham’s research group is acknowledged as a world leader in fighting the pest. Working with the Max Planck Institute in Germany and partners in India, China and France, the group has already been able to identify the genetic basis of resistance to some insecticides. And they can predict where in the genome resistance genes are likely to occur. Batterham announced at ABIC that a particular gene—Dalpha6 confers high level resistance to a widely used insecticide, spinosyn.

The Bio 21 Institute team has been joined by Dr Derek Russell who has spent the past ten years leading a research effort in India, China and Pakistan, specifically aimed at practical measures to reduce insecticide use against the bollworm. In recent years the levels of pesticide employed have been so great they were making cotton growing uneconomic across large parts of Asia, and were affecting the health of farmers.

The research has led to a national control program, now involving more than 1000 field workers all over India. By determining the most effective sprays and times for spraying in different areas and rotating the different sprays to minimise the development of insecticide resistance, the program has reduced the use of insecticides by about a half, while increasing crop yields by 11 per cent and profitability by 75 per cent. The group recently won an award for being the best Indian Government science team.

“We had all the gumboot experience of fighting the bollworm in the field,” says Russell, “but not the laboratory backup we needed, the edge that biotechnology can give us. But we have now joined with what I regard as the strongest molecular science group working on the problem anywhere in the world.”

Batterham and Russell believe that, from their biotechnology intelligence unit, to the research workers, and the network of advisers working with farmers, they have made great strides in the war against the bollworm. But much more could be achieved if they could design a new generation of weapons using the genome sequence of the bollworm.

Niall Byrne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.scienceinpublic.com/2006/ABIC/bollworm.htm

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: 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...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

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

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>