Reducing Insecticide Use by Identifying Disease-Carrying Aphids

By Dennis O’Brien

USDA – In work that could cut back on insecticide use, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have found a way to distinguish aphids that spread plant viruses from those that do not. The researchers used protein biomarkers to differentiate between virus-spreading and virus-free aphids. The findings mark the first time that protein biomarkers have been linked to an insect’s ability to transmit viruses. Aphid-transmitted viruses decrease crop yields and reduce the quality and quantity of fresh foods. Spraying insecticides can control aphids and reduce the incidence of some viruses, but not all aphids transmit viruses, and spraying is expensive and can harm the environment, people and animals….. >> Read More<<

Source and Photo: USDA, April 2nd, 2012
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