Navigation Links
Using a pest's chemical signals to control it

This release is available in Spanish.

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.


Contact: Dennis O'Brien
United States Department of Agriculture-Research, Education, and Economics

Related biology news :

1. New plastic-like materials may say shhhh to hush disease-causing microbes
2. Project for sailing vessels to maneuver in ports using electric energy from wind
3. K-State professor using NSF award to study the impact of nitrogen deposition on global change
4. Scientists create artificial human skin with biomechanical properties using tissue engineering
5. Beetles stand out using Avatar tech
6. Cancer therapy using unique imaging, delivery system focus of NSF CAREER Award
7. Development of new anti-cancer gene therapy approach using lentiviral vectors
8. IU researchers target vascular disease linked to cancer-causing gene mutation
9. Caltech-led team provides proof in humans of RNA interference using targeted nanoparticles
10. Study shows potential for using algae to produce human therapeutic proteins
11. Using own skin cells to repair hearts on horizon
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/24/2016)... facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders of the medical imaging ... product recently added to the range of products distributed by Ampronix. Photo ... ... ... News ...
(Date:5/12/2016)... DALLAS , May 12, 2016 ... has just published the overview results from the Q1 ... of the recent wave was consumers, receptivity to a ... wearables data with a health insurance company. ... choose to share," says Michael LaColla , CEO ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), ... a global partnership that will provide end customers ... mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... innovation area for financial services, but it also plays a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Epic ... sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by ... tumor cells (CTCs). The new test has already ... therapeutics in multiple cancer types. Over ... DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a ... eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research ... by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... - FACIT has announced the creation of a ... Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the Company"), to ... of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment of ... an exciting class of therapies, possessing the potential ... patients. Substantial advances have been achieved with the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is ... has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI approval ... Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate methods ...
Breaking Biology Technology: