Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Menopause Researcher Discovers Nontoxic Chemical That Causes Infertility In Rats

Date:
June 2, 2009
Source:
Northern Arizona University
Summary:
A new discovery could help feed millions. When a scientist set out to alleviate diseases associated with menopause, she didn't realize her work could lead to addressing world hunger and feeding hundreds of millions of people. The research has identified a nontoxic chemical technology that when applied to rodents, caused infertility in rats, which feast on crops intended for human consumption.

NAU's Loretta Mayer is working on research to speed up fertility in rats so they go through early menopause in order to decrease the number of rodents munching on crops intended for humans.
Credit: Photo by Jerry Foreman, Northern Arizona University

When scientist Loretta Mayer set out to alleviate diseases associated with menopause, she didn’t realize her work could lead to addressing world hunger and feeding hundreds of millions of people.

The Northern Arizona University researcher and her colleagues at NAU and the University of Arizona identified a nontoxic chemical technology that when applied to rodents, caused infertility in rats, which feast on crops intended for human consumption.

"This environmentally neutral approach, that has never been available before, will reduce the damage rice-field rats cause in countries that depend on rice as a main food supply," Mayer said.

Rodents consume or damage up to 50 percent of pre-harvest rice crops. Due to the large-scale cultivation of rice worldwide, if rice production were to increase by 10 percent, "this would feed about 380 million people a year," Mayer said. "We can easily increase rice production by 10 percent by reducing rodent fertility in half."

She said this noninvasive approach is more humane than poison, which takes several days to kill rodents and seeps into groundwater, harming other animals and possible food sources.

The sterilization technology derived from Mayer’s research, done by Patricia Hoyer and and Glenn Sipes at University of Arizona, investigated potential damage caused to ovarian follicles in women exposed to certain chemicals in industrial settings. Of particular interest was a chemical compound known as 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide, or VCD, typically used in manufacturing rubber tires, polyesters and plastics.

She found that low, nontoxic doses of VCD in mice sped the menopausal process and rendered them infertile. She dubbed this new animal model of accelerated menopause "mouseopause."

Mayer and her colleagues have developed a product called ContraPest that incorporates the chemical sterilization treatment into bait. The bait is put into strategically placed stations that lure rodents into cages too small to attract or affect other animals. "No rat or mice I know can resist a little hole," she said.

ContraPest is being tested in Indonesia -- the largest producer of rice in the world, and is currently being registered for rodent-population control in Australia.

"We are testing it in Indonesia, and then our next target site will be in the Philippines. From the Philippines we go to Vietnam," Mayer said.

Scientists adapt the product to different rodent species at SenesTech, the Flagstaff-based company that grew out of Mayer’s work on the NAU campus. Named after the word senescence, meaning approaching an advanced age, the young company hopes to create a number of beneficial products.

Mayer and her team of researchers also are adapting the technology platform for population management of other animals. They are formulating a product, ChemSpay, for use in population management of wild animals such as deer, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, horses, buffalo and elk as well as cats and dogs.

"What we are doing right now is we are preparing the translation of this technology to dogs and cats. We have already completed six months of study in dogs. This could have a tremendous impact on reducing the number of animals in shelters," said Mayer noting that not only is the method a cost-effective way to avoid surgical spaying, there’s a global impact to canine management most people don’t realize.

"Dogs are huge vectors of disease throughout the world," she said. "In India, every two seconds someone is bitten by a dog. The tragedy is that every 30 minutes someone dies from rabies. If you continue to vaccinate against rabies, you won’t be able to make a dent. You have to combine rabies vaccinations with fertility control."

She hopes to address rabies problems on the rise in West Africa, India and China.

Australia hopes to put the technology to use in managing its kangaroo, wallaby and camel populations. New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom also are in line to put ChemSpay to use.

She said luring students to the research team was easy. "We want them involved with hands-on research and field experience," she said. "The first question I ask interested students is if they have empty passport pages they are ready to fill."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Northern Arizona University. "Menopause Researcher Discovers Nontoxic Chemical That Causes Infertility In Rats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090527174052.htm>.
Northern Arizona University. (2009, June 2). Menopause Researcher Discovers Nontoxic Chemical That Causes Infertility In Rats. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090527174052.htm
Northern Arizona University. "Menopause Researcher Discovers Nontoxic Chemical That Causes Infertility In Rats." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090527174052.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. 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