Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Technology protects cotton from caterpillar’s appetite

02.02.2011
The furry-looking insects start their development smaller than the head of a pin, but the caterpillars soon develop an appetite for cotton as big as the crop.

To demonstrate the insects’ destructive power, Clemson University entomologist Jeremy Greene planted two cotton varieties — one genetically modified to provide protection from caterpillars, one not — in a demonstration field at the Edisto Research and Education Center.

The non-protected cotton was planted in a pattern that spelled the word “Tigers.” Aerial photographs taken near harvest show that while the genetically modified crop survived intact, the unprotected plants provided three square meals a day for the crop-hungry herbivores.

The demonstration crop was planted in late May last year and grew through the summer.

“We wanted to show the kind of damage caterpillars can do when they’re allowed to eat unprotected cotton freely,” Greene said.

Cotton is a multimillion dollar crop in the Palmetto State involving hundreds of farms and thousands of jobs.

Nearly all cotton varieties planted in South Carolina contain genes found in the naturally occurring Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, that help the plant make its own insecticide.

Bt cotton is genetically modified with specific genes from Bacillus thuringiensis. Think of it as in-plant insecticide, Greene said. This technology has been commercially available since 1996, but improvements over the years have enhanced the control of major pests.

The plant makes the proteins just like the bacterium does. The particular strain of Bacillus thuringiensis available in cotton, which was planted for the demonstration, works only on immature lepidopterans, or caterpillars. Lepidoptera is the insect order for moths and butterflies. The toxic proteins have no ill effects on other organisms.

“During 2010, we had a very high population of bollworm that infested cotton acres at the Edisto research center,” Greene said. “We planted a non-Bt variety where you see the word 'Tigers' and a two-gene Bt cotton where you see the fluffy white cotton lint.”

The striking difference in appearance is due to bollworms eating all of the green cotton bolls in the non-Bt variety that did not have protection from the insects.

Greene applied no insecticides to control caterpillars in this field, so the difference between the Bt and non-Bt varieties is illustrated clearly.

A color-coded yield map, produced by precision agriculture specialist Will Henderson at the Edisto center, illustrates the crop after harvest using one of the center’s pickers that is equipped with a yield monitor. The map shows “good” yields in green and “bad” yields in red.

The damage potential of important lepidopteran species, such as bollworm, is not new, Greene said. Moths have flown into fields, laid eggs and hatched as injurious caterpillars for decades.

Transgenic Bt technology and its improvement over the years are relatively recent advances that represent effective, economical and environmentally friendly control of these insects in agriculture, he said.

“We know what they can do to non-Bt cotton versus Bt cotton — the photographs speak for themselves,” Greene said.

Jeremy Greene | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.clemson.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

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: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Explaining how 2-D materials break at the atomic level

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation

18.01.2017 | Information Technology

Reducing household waste with less energy

18.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>