Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Saving the maize crops

04.10.2004


“The results of the research we have carried out on the genome of viruses, specifically on nucleopolyhedroviruses (NPVs; Baculoviridae) will help to understand how genetic systems evolve. This discovery is of great importance when we take into account that NPVs have shown to have great insecticide potential for the control of agricultural and forestry plagues, above all for the cultivation of maize in countries such as Mexico and Honduras”. This is one of the conclusions of the PhD thesis “Functional importance of genotypic and phenotypic diversity in a Spodoptera frugiperda multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus population” that researcher Oihane Simón De Goñi recently defended at the Public University of Navarre.

How the virus affects the plague

The nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPVs; Baculoviridae) have shown to have great insecticide potential for the control of agricultural and forestry plagues. It involves an infectious virus for insects that cause plagues, the size of which is 2 to 3 micras and which can be found, according to Ms Simón de Goñi, “contaminating a plant leaf which the insect feeds off. This virus is composed of a protein that includes the infectious viruses, known as virions. The larva, on eating the contaminated leaf, ingests the virus which, when it arrives at the digestive tract of the insect, it dissolves the protein surrounding the virions and these are released. Then the virions unite with the epithelial cells and enter the nuclei thereof where they multiply to produce new virions which then infect the cells of other internal tissues of the insect’s body. Thus, the infected cells burst (lysis) and, finally, the whole insect becomes a pool of liquid in a matter of 3 or 4 days, releasing thousands of millions of viral particles that contaminate other leaves to commence a new cycle. This is the useful insecticide action of this virus”.



Population genetics of the virus

The study was designed to resolve the question of why the deleterious genotypes - which are unable on their own to infect the insect - are maintained in the virus population. “Until now it was believed that the genotypic variants with deletions were defective and, thereby, these variants would tend to disappear with evolution. In consequence, it was believed that in order to produce good insecticides, the logical thing would be to use only those genotypes that were complete. However, on analysing the genetic sequence of this virus, characterising the genotypic variants present in this isolated sample, we have been able to show that the genetic diversity present in this virus is important for the biological activity of the virus and its potential”.

The main consequence of this is that “these variants do not disappear because they contribute to enhancing the overall set of pathogenic characteristics of the viral population. Thus, in the elaboration of insecticides, it is better to work with mixtures of genotypes, given that a much more powerful insecticide is obtained”.
The characterisation of the virus reaffirms the discovery. “There are variants that act synergically between each other and that make the activity of the virus increase. This causes certain genes to be involved in this synergic action and so the next step will be to determine which genes are involved and thus we will be able to extrapolate them to other viruses also”.

The results will be applicable to the development of bioinsecticides “that can be used in countries like Mexico and Honduras, where significant damage is incurred in maize plagues, affected by this virus”.

But moreover these results can “be extrapolated to the elaboration of other bioinsectides because the importance of the discovery of the retention of these variants lies in the fact that it can be valid for other viruses”.

The advantages of using bioinsecticides instead of chemical insecticides are many, states the research scientist, “Their high-specificity insecticide action does not contaminate the environment and are not toxic for the rest of the (beneficial) insects, plants, land and marine animals nor for humans. This means that products based on these viruses are ecologically very sound, desirable and compatible with most control agents and thereby an interesting alternative in any plague control programme”. One of the main drawbacks in marketing the product “is precisely its high specificity, together with its high production cost. Thus, it is necessary to continue researching new techniques to enable the production of a virus with a wider spectrum of potential hosts, in larger quantities and at a lower cost”.

Iñaki Casado Redin | Basque research
Further information:
http://www.unavarra.es

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Kidney tumor: Genetic trigger discovered
18.06.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht New type of photosynthesis discovered
18.06.2018 | Imperial College London

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

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 >>>