Navigation Links
Natural seed treatment could drastically cut pesticide use
Date:6/8/2009

The technology - which makes plants significantly more resistant to pests - has now been licensed for use by US agricultural company Becker Underwood in collaboration with Plant Bioscience Limited.

Scientists have long understood that spraying crops with jasmonic acid - a chemical naturally produced by plant leaves when attacked by insects - reduces pest attack. But crops treated with the chemical don't grow as well as those that are untreated.

Researchers at Lancaster University's Environment Centre and Stockbridge Technology Centre found that plants grown from seeds dipped in jasmonic acid are considerably more resistant to pests. The chemical seems to prime some plants' natural protective responses.

Early trials at Lancaster University saw promising results when researchers treated the seeds of tomato plants, sweet pepper and maize. Red spider mite attack on tomato plants was down by 80 per cent, aphid attack on sweet peppers cut by 70 per cent and caterpillar damage to maize was reduced by 38 per cent.

Initial results were so encouraging that Becker Underwood quickly started large-scale field trials in a number of commercially-important agricultural crops in the US. Their results showed clear reductions in pest damage with increased crop yields, and has led to the company negotiating a worldwide exclusive licence to use the technology.

'The potential for significant yield improvement due to the lessening of plant damage caused by pests is very exciting,' says Eda Reinot, head of research and development at Becker Underwood.

'When we first set out to test jasmonic acid on seeds, it seemed unlikely it would work,' says Dr Nigel Paul, who led the research at Lancaster University. 'So for it now to be licensed for commercial use so soon after our initial research is very exciting.'

Applying jasmonic acid to seeds protects many crops for at least ten weeks after germination of the seeds. Treated seeds can also be stored and sown at a later stage.

'We think treating seeds with jasmonic acid acts rather like immunisation, protecting plants for an extended period after treatment,' says Dr Jason Moore, a member of the Lancaster team.

Until now, genetic modification (GM) technology has been touted as the best hope for increasing crop yields without using excessive pesticides. But GM has long been unpopular in many countries. What makes jasmonic acid so exciting is that it is a more natural way to protect plants.

In addition to cutting pesticide use, the new technology could be a financially beneficial alternative for farmers and growers using pesticides, because seeds are cheaper to treat than whole crops.

The original research showing the effect of jasmonic acid on seeds was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. But it was further work funded by a Nerc scheme to investigate developing research outcomes into commercially-viable products that proved the commercial potential of treating seeds with jasmonic acid.

'The seed treatment started out as pure ecology, but with the support of our funders and now PBL and Becker Underwood, it's developed into a new technology that could really help improve food production around the world,' adds Paul.

The Lancaster team now want to take their research further. They are investigating its value in disease control and further funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council will allow the researchers to explore exactly how jasmonic acid works its magic on plant seeds.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tamera Jones
tane@nerc.ac.uk
44-079-175-57215
Natural Environment Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Natural chemical found in broccoli helps combat skin blistering disease
2. Natural insecticide re-created in the lab
3. Researchers develop simple method to create natural drug products
4. Brains timing linked with timescales of the natural visual world
5. Alternative methods proposed to detect pesticides and antibiotics in water and natural food
6. Naturally-occurring apple compounds reduce risk of pancreatic cancer
7. New membrane strips carbon dioxide from natural gas faster and better
8. Natural product discovery by Cleveland medical researchers blocks tissue destruction
9. MU researchers go nano, natural and green
10. Researchers discover natural herbicide released by grass
11. Baker Institute finds increased domestic production wont make US self-sufficient in natural gas
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/18/2017)... SUNNYVALE, Calif. , April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a ... prototype of a media edge server, the M820, which features the ... face recognition software provided by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased ... and at the NAB show at the Las Vegas ... ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... Calif. , April 13, 2017 UBM,s ... York will feature emerging and evolving technology ... Both Innovation Summits will run alongside the expo portion ... speaker sessions, panels and demonstrations focused on trending topics ... largest advanced design and manufacturing event will take place ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a ... authentication solutions, today announced that it has been ... Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation ... "Innovation has been a driving force ... program will allow us to innovate and develop ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/26/2017)... SC (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... mind, has teamed up with NASA to showcase the future of deep space ... Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft and includes a guest appearance by ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... headlines and drive high-level conversations among healthcare industry stakeholders, the discussion surrounding the ... – taking place May 15-18, 2017 in Los Angeles, Calif. Hosted by the ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... , April 25, 2017 ... has licensed its novel immune-modulating technology to an undisclosed ... and allergy. Tregitopes, pronounced T·rej·itopes, are ... immunoglobulin by EpiVax CEO Annie De Groot ... intravenous immunoglobulin G, an autoimmune disease therapy, Tregitopes ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... April 24, 2017  Dante Labs announced today the offer ... 850 (ca. $900). While American individuals have been able to ... Europeans can access WGS below EUR 1,000. The ... leveraging genetic information to make informed decisions about disease monitoring, ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: