Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Improved Insect Virus Targeted To Prevent Forestry Losses

Date:
February 12, 1999
Source:
University Of Guelph
Summary:
A naturally occurring specially formulated insect virus may help control the devastating spruce budworm that causes billions of dollars of damage annually to Canadian forests, say University of Guelph researchers.

A naturally occurring specially formulated insect virus may help control the devastating spruce budworm that causes billions of dollars of damage annually to Canadian forests, say University of Guelph researchers.

Currently, there is no effective means of controlling this pest, which attacks spruce and fir trees and is responsible for much of the damage to Canadian forests. But a research team led by U of G Prof. Peter Krell says a new viral defence against budworm could be ready for lab testing in a year.

"Clear cutting damage is minor compared to bug damage in any one year," says U of G Prof. Peter Krell, Department of Microbiology. "Having a strong virus that can adequately fight off the budworm is important to help preserve the forest habitat."

The spruce budworm infests trees and slowly kills them by eating the needles and new growth of trees. Trees may recover from budworm damage unless repeatedly attacked each year. In 1995 for example, 3.9 million hectares of Canadian forest were significantly damaged by spruce budworm, far outnumbering the losses from forest fires and logging. There are currently chemical pest controls available, but these insecticides carry environmental and health concerns. The use of viral control methods will alleviate these complications.

Increasing the virulence of the spruce budworm baculovirus -- a naturally occurring virus which attacks the spruce budworm -- is being tackled by Krell, graduate student Tammy Reid, and Basil Arif of Canadian Forestry Services in Sault Ste. Marie. This species-specific virus attacks only the spruce budworm and affects no other organisms, and leaves no undesirable traces.

"It is the ideal species-specific biological agent," says Krell.

However, the virus is not as strong as researchers would like to make a significant impact on the tree pests. So work on genetically modifying the virus to be more effective is being conducted. The researchers are developing a technique of adding the protein "fusolin," originally obtained from a different virus but now harvested in the lab, to improve the power of the spruce budworm baculovirus.

This baculovirus is ideal to work with, because viruses are natural organisms and do not pose the risks that other pest-control methods do, Krell says. The virus, even if genetically altered and with added fusolin protein, will leave no residue and will only attack the budworm, and no other creatures will be harmed.

The genetic manipulation of the spruce budworm baculovirus and fusolin-adding techniques could also be applied to other forestry and agriculture insect pests, by substituting a baculovirus that is specific to those pests.

When used in field trials, the virus preparation could be added to a substance that is attractive to insects, and then sprayed over the afflicted area, in the same manner that chemical pesticides are distributed.

This project was financed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council for the past three years. Preliminary laboratory studies will be completed in 1999.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Guelph. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Guelph. "Improved Insect Virus Targeted To Prevent Forestry Losses." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990211092137.htm>.
University Of Guelph. (1999, February 12). Improved Insect Virus Targeted To Prevent Forestry Losses. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990211092137.htm
University Of Guelph. "Improved Insect Virus Targeted To Prevent Forestry Losses." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/02/990211092137.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins