Showing posts with the label Pesticides

Plants Use Pungent-Smelling Chemicals to Protect Their Next-Generation From Predators

Image credit: Pixabay Plants serve themselves as food to various herbivores, insects and larvae. Earlier, they didn’t have a way to defend themselves. However, after millions of years of evolution, they have in-built a defensive system to ensure their survival for the next generation. A recent study by the University of Copenhagen, Denmark , proposed that plants use substances that taste similar to wasabi and mustard sauce that stimulate a burning sensation in their predators' mouths, thereby preventing themselves from getting eaten up. Instead of serving plants as food, these pungent-smelling chemicals repel insects and herbivores to defend them. Glucosinolates are naturally occurring substances in plants that play an important role in their defensive mechanisms. When herbivores start eating plant leaves, the plant tissues are crushed, and an enzyme is released called Myrosinase. This enzyme gets mixed with glucosinolates to produce toxic metabolites that inhibit most insects to

Mosquitoes Have Learned to Avoid Pesticides Used to Kill Them Says a UK Study

Image credit: Pixabay Mosquitoes are getting smarter these days. With the changing environment, they are adapting to new ways of survival. According to the scientists at Keele University in the U.K , they are learning new ways to avoid pesticides used to kill them. Scientists studied two species of mosquitoes Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti . These two species are responsible for spreading diseases such as West Nile Fever, Zika, malaria , yellow and dengue fever. In recent years, pesticide resistance among mosquitoes has increased. However, the extent of this ability in different species of mosquitoes is still unknown. Scientists found that the female mosquitoes have learned to identify the smell of venomous pesticides after a single harmless exposure to pesticides. During the experiment, researchers exposed female mosquitoes to safe doses of common anti-mosquito pesticides. They observed that mosquitoes that were earlier exposed to these pesticides avoided passing through t

New Study Shows Aphid ‘Honeydew’ Promotes Bacteria That Can Kill Them

Photo credit: Horror by Numbers/ Unsplash   According to a new study by researchers at Cornell University, New York, honeydew- a sugary sticky liquid secreted by aphids can promote the growth of the bacteria that is highly infectious to the pests. During the study, researchers used  Pseudomonas syringae, a type of bacteria that resides on leaves . Pseudomonas syringae is a rod-shaped bacteria that infect a wide range of plant species. It also affects certain infection carriers like Aphids that transfer the infection while feeding on the sap, damaging crops of billions of dollars around the world. The research shows how certain strains or genetic types of Pseudomonas syringae are infectious to aphids and might also be used to control pests. The research paper, “ Context-Dependent Benefits of Aphids for Bacteria in the Phyllosphere ,” published in the journal ‘The American Naturalist,’ assessed the virulence (micro-organisms ability to damage the host) of different strains (genetic ty

New Study shows Urban farming yields at par with conventional farming. Uses less pesticides

Image credit: Syced/ Wikimedia Commons According to citizen science research conducted by the University of Sussex, urban farmers in the UK were able to gather one kilogram of insect-pollinated fruits and vegetables per square metre which also falls within the range of conventional farming. Urban farming may contribute to local food security, but it is not scalable due to its labor-intensive nature. It is, nevertheless, more sustainable, productive, and environmentally friendly when compared to traditional agriculture. According to some estimates, urban vegetables might offer up to 20% of the world's food. Over the years, urban farming has received very little attention and research compared to conventional farming and its methods. Dr. Beth Nicholls , a UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellow at the University of Sussex presented the initial results at Ecology Across Borders on Wednesday 15 th December at Liverpool in the U.K. Ecology Across Borders is a program conduct

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