Better-Targeted Pest Control

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Better-Targeted Pest Control

 
Posted by Raquel | 21 October 2009, 12:20 am

termite pestsMIT researchers and collaborators from Northeastern University have discovered what could be a more sustainable way to protect crops and buildings from damage by termites and other pest insects, which is estimated to cost more than $30 billion per year. Their technique blocks part of the insects' immune defenses, making the pests more susceptible to deadly bacterial and fungal infections.

Professor Ram Sasisekharan and his colleagues found that proteins embedded in insect nests, known as gram-negative-bacteria-binding proteins (GNBPs), act as a first line of defense against pathogenic bacteria and fungi. When the proteins encounter such pathogens, they chop them up and expose the parts to the insects, priming their immune response.

Seeking to exploit this discovery for pest control, the researchers discovered that a sugar called GDL (glucono delta-lactone), a naturally occurring derivative of glucose, can disable the proteins, making the insects more vulnerable to infection.

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Comments

This very cool. Thanks for the post. Gotta love Green pest management.
Posted @ Wednesday, October 21, 2009 8:35 PM by Wiley Sanders
New and interesting way to control problem pests (at least in our environment) I wonder how they plan on dispensing the glucose? Time to read on! 
 
 
 
Thanks for the information,  
 
Chris
Posted @ Thursday, October 22, 2009 10:04 AM by Chris Frei
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