Australian scientists discover new bacterial insecticide
Dec. 8, 2011
Scientists from Australia's University of Queensland said on Tuesday they have discovered a new bacterial insecticide that is dead against a wide range of insects.
The scientists reported their finding on the bacteria Yersinia entomophaga MH96 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers said their findings may give an idea of developing new bacterial insecticide against a wide range of insects and will become a big benefit for farmers within three to four years.
The team was led by structural biologist Dr. Michael Landsberg, of the University of Queensland. He said the bacteria produces a protein called Yen-Tc, which can kill infected insects within two to three days.
"Yersinia is quite famous because Yersinia pest is thought to be the causative agent of the black plague," Landsberg said in a statement.
However, Landsberg claimed that the bacteria will cause some side effects like feeding, and vomiting and diarrhoea.
Currently, the major bio-pesticide in use comes from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). It is used as a spray on vegetables and is also genetically engineered into some crops such as cotton and corn.
The over-reliance of Bt could result in resistance of developing to this pesticide. The new finding will help researchers to develop some more alternatives.
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