Genetic Engineering Makes Crop Pests Eradication Cheaper and Safer

Crop pests consume greater than a fifth of crops cultivated around the world every year. Production of professional table crops and agricultural commodities is seriously threatened by insect pests. To safeguard their harvest, insecticides are frequently used by farmers. Alternatively, some farmers choose a more tactful method; They utilize pheromones by applying them to their crops, which can confuse insects and keep them from mating.

Pesticide

Pesticide

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Pheromones are molecules that affect behavior. They are chemical cues or signals that cause members of the same species or closely related species to behave in a certain way. Pheromones have been employed by farmers for years to keep nuisance insects away from expensive crops like apples and grapes, such as by baiting traps with them or saturating fields with them to make it hard for the insects to pair. But the exorbitant expense of pheromones has precluded the broad use of the technique. Therefore, it can’t be used on low-value crops like maize and soybeans.

A new technique can save costs and make farmers happy

Now, more farmers might be able to arm themselves with this tool thanks to a new, less expensive technique of producing synthetic pheromones.

Every year, farmers use more than 400,000 tons of pesticides. In addition to endangering farm workers, these herbicides can harm pollinators and other species incidentally. Farmers are currently using more pesticides than necessary because insects have already developed resistance to many of them.

Pheromones offer a desirable alternative for some farmers. However, creating pheromones is a difficult and expensive task. It also depends on the type of insect. That’s why it is used on expensive crops.

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To cut costs, Chemical ecologist Christer Löfstedt of Lund University and his international colleagues have been working on making plants produce these pheromones by modifying them to produce chemical molecules that can synthesize them. They used Camelina; it is a flowering plant related to canola, and its seeds are full of fatty acids, which are essential for encouraging plants to create these basic materials. Löfstedt and his colleagues relied on genetic engineering which is a form of bioengineering. This is a technique that allows the transfer of genes responsible for pheromone production from insect to plant.

Clinical significance

The field of genetic engineering has the potential to revolutionize medicine. It can be used on a wide range of plants, animals, and microbes. Bacteria, the first creatures to undergo genetic modification, can have plasmid DNA introduced that contains new genes encoding for drugs or enzymes that break down food and other substrates. The bulk production of human insulin in bacteria was one of the first applications of genetic engineering. This has also been applied to hormones, antibodies, vaccines, and so on.

Conclusion

Due to the advent of this new technique of genetic engineering, pheromones can be available to farmers at cheaper rates. This will lead to better farming conditions and productivity.

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References

Researchers just made it easier—and cheaper—to confuse crop pests

ECO-FRIENDLY MANAGEMENT OF INSECT PESTS IN AGRICULTURE BY PHEROMONES: A REVIEW

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