Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using a pest's chemical signals to control it

Date:
May 19, 2010
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Agricultural scientists are tapping into the biochemistry of one of the world's most damaging insect pests to develop a biocontrol agent that may keep the pest away from gardens and farms.

ARS scientists are developing a mimic of the neuropeptides of the pea aphid (shown here) as a biocontrol agent for this and other insect pests.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are tapping into the biochemistry of one of the world's most damaging insect pests to develop a biocontrol agent that may keep the pest away from gardens and farms.

Aphids spread diseases that cost gardeners and farmers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Some of the insecticides available are not environmentally friendly, and because aphids are developing insecticide resistance, some growers are being forced to use more of the chemicals.

Ronald J. Nachman, a chemist with the ARS Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center at College Station, Texas, is working with chemical signals known as neuropeptides that aphids and other organisms use to control and regulate a wide range of body functions, such as digestion, respiration, water intake and excretions. The effect triggered by the chemical signal is normally turned off when the neuropeptide is broken down by enzymes in the body. Nachman is developing neuropeptide mimics, or analogues, with slightly altered molecular structures that will not break down. His goal is to kill the pest by disrupting its digestion, water intake or some other biological function.

Nachman, along with Guy Smagghe of Ghent University in Belgium and other colleagues, mixed five candidate analogues into dietary solutions and fed each one to 20 caged pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) nymphs. The scientists found that one of the formulations killed 90 to 100 percent of the aphids within three days, at a rate and potency comparable to insecticides now on the market. The study was recently published in the journal Peptides.

Any biocontrol agent would have to be thoroughly tested before being released for commercial use. Nachman is continuing to test and evaluate the neuropeptide mimics. But he said the molecular structures of the class of neuropeptide he is studying, known as insect kinins, are so unique that such a biocontrol agent is unlikely to have any effect on humans, plants or other types of organisms.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Dennis O'Brien. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Guy Smagghe, Kamran Mahdian, Pawel Zubrzak, Ronald J. Nachman. Antifeedant activity and high mortality in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera: Aphidae) induced by biostable insect kinin analogs. Peptides, 2010; 31 (3): 498 DOI: 10.1016/j.peptides.2009.07.001

Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Using a pest's chemical signals to control it." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517172256.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2010, May 19). Using a pest's chemical signals to control it. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517172256.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Using a pest's chemical signals to control it." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100517172256.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. 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