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Researchers make pheromone-based pest control affordable for farmersqrcode

−− The RPW has been a menace for the past 20 years and had hit the date palm cultivation in the middle east.

Mar. 12, 2020

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Mar. 12, 2020
Pesticide-free crop is a goal for agriculturalists, however cost-ineffectiveness has always been a limitation. Scientists and researchers in Bengaluru have formulated a matrix or powder formula that can make the pheromone-based pest control method almost eight times cheaper.
The pheromone method works like this – farmers purchase a vial of the semiochemical (a pheromone released by an organism that affects the behaviour of other substances) that are specific to particular insects. Semiochemicals synthesised in laboratories attract male species for mating. The substance is put in a dispenser that economically distributes its flow over months. As the female insect gets attracted to the dispenser, a sticky trap awaits them, explained Abishek Garg, a PhD student from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre For Advanced Scientific Research (JNCAR), Bengaluru.
He said that farmers use a dispenser named rubber septa, which requires 400 to 700 milligrams of the semiochemical and lasts for three months. Since the solution costs up to Rs 60,000 per gram, it becomes an expensive alternative to pesticides, Garg added.
Scientists from JNCAR and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Bengaluru have developed a matrix – powder like substance – for this nano-enabled control of semiochemicals.
Speaking to TNIE, principal scientist Dr Kesavan Subaharan said that the red palm weevil (RPW) lure technology, that was transferred by the researchers to ATGC, received a huge tender from the UAE. The lure gets rid of the invasive pests and saves a large number of date palms.
The RPW has been a menace for the past 20 years and had hit the date palm cultivation in the middle east. The researchers held field trials in parts of west and east coasts of India and found that the technology works. While this lure was sold by the USA at one or two dollars, we sold it at 30 cents, Subaharan added.

This technology has been tested for tomato pin worms, rice yellow stem borer, diamondback moth (found in cabbages), and even the fall armyworm that had caused global devastation in maize production. They are looking at breaking into global markets with their technology.


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