Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Insecticide-free Method Studied For Control Of Soybean Aphids

Date:
September 16, 2009
Source:
Iowa State University
Summary:
Researchers are looking at a way to genetically modify soybeans to prevent damage from aphids. If successful, soybeans will carry in-plant protection from aphids, similar to the way genetically modified corn now keeps the European Corn Borer from destroying corn yields.

Two Iowa State University researchers are examining a new method of controlling soybean aphids without the use of chemical pesticides.

Related Articles


Bryony Bonning, professor of entomology, and Allen Miller, professor of plant pathology and director of the Center for Plant Responses to Environmental Stresses, are looking at a way to genetically modify soybeans to prevent damage from aphids.

If the research is successful, soybeans will carry in-plant protection from aphids, similar to the way genetically modified corn now keeps the European Corn Borer from destroying corn yields, but using a different molecular tool. Modified corn technology has been in use for about 12 years.

The study is being funded by a Grow Iowa Values Fund Grant. The goal of the grant program is to support development of technologies with commercial potential and to support the growth of companies using those technologies.

The researchers are working with Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, as their corporate partner.

Previous research at Iowa State University indicated that if major soybean aphid outbreaks were left untreated, the loss in yield could exceed $250 million in Iowa. The annual cost to prevent the yield loss with insecticides can reach $64 million for Iowa soybean growers.

Soybean aphid outbreaks have become an annual phenomenon in Iowa, according to Miller.

The current research focuses on introducing a gene into soybeans that is harmless to mammals, but creates a toxin that is lethal to aphids that feed on soybean plants.

In order to be effective, the toxin needs to be taken intact into the body cavity of the aphid, not broken down by the digestive system in the bug.

Miller and Bonning identified a plant virus coat protein eaten by soybean aphids that doesn't break down and goes into the aphid body cavity intact.

They know the virus coat protein remains intact because the aphids often spread the virus from plant to plant while they are feeding.

Coat proteins make up the outer shell of a virus particle.

The researchers devised a method to use virus coat proteins to their advantage. The researchers have fused their toxin to the virus' protein coat. Since the protein coat is only part of the virus to be used, there is no risk of an infectious virus. Also, the coat protein is from a virus that normally doesn't infect soybeans.

When the hybrid toxin coat protein is eaten by the aphid, the fatal toxin should get into the aphid body cavity intact.

"What we thought was, if this (virus) protein has this ability to be taken up into the aphid (intact), let's take advantage of that specialization and fuse that to other proteins that are toxic," said Miller.

In addition to possibly curbing the aphid problem and the yield loss it causes, there are other benefits to the farmers and the ecosystems.

"The (potential) economic impact overall is huge," said Bonning. "There will be less insecticide use, and also less fossil fuel used to apply the insecticides."

Also, spraying soybeans with insecticides doesn't just control the aphids, according to Bonning.

"When you spray, you also control beneficial insects," said Bonning. "Lady beetles are affected, for example, and they are a natural enemy of the aphids. So when the aphids come back to a field after spraying, there won't be any lady beetles to naturally control the aphid populations."

Miller adds that if growers spray for aphids and don't eliminate them all, the aphids simply disperse to other fields, making the problem worse.

"There are many reasons not to spray, but you can't tell the growers to stop spraying until you give them an alternative for soybean aphid management," said Bonning.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Iowa State University. "Insecticide-free Method Studied For Control Of Soybean Aphids." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915174457.htm>.
Iowa State University. (2009, September 16). Insecticide-free Method Studied For Control Of Soybean Aphids. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915174457.htm
Iowa State University. "Insecticide-free Method Studied For Control Of Soybean Aphids." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915174457.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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