Natures wonders: more biomimetics (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 18, 2014, 15:11 (1253 days ago) @ David Turell

Using spider venom as pesticide. Great progress in this field. Products are coming to market:

"As expected, the toxin effectively killed pests: ingestion of either the purified peptide or the leaves of the Hvt-transgenic plants had fatal effects on the African cotton leafworm (Spodoptera littoralis) and the tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens). More importantly, the purified toxin peptide did not harm any of four beneficial nontarget species: the common green lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea), the aphid parasitoid (Aphidius colemani), the seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)—three aphid predators used for biological control—or the western honey bee (Apis mellifera) (J Appl Entomol, doi:10.1111/jen.12156, 2014). “We tested the nontarget [insects] with the same concentration [of toxin peptide that killed the pests], and it did not affect them in any way,” Ullah says.

"The results confirm research published this June in Proceedings of the Royal Society B (281:20140619, 2014), in which a group of UK researchers demonstrated that Hvt, linked to a carrier molecule called GNA from the common snowdrop plant (Galanthus nivalis), did not reduce honey bee survival or rates of learning and memory. “They did a whole range of studies that show that it has absolutely no effect at all,” says King. “All of the data is looking very, very strong.”"

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