Insecticide insect They discovered a new species of worm that can protect crops without pesticides

UCR nematologist Adler Dillman and his colleagues in their laboratory.

Loss pesticides is used in Agriculture To control weeds, insect infestation and diseases. There are many different types of pesticides and each is used to deal with specific pests. But The use of pesticides is not harmless: they can cause serious harm to the environment, flora, fauna and humans.,

The main long-term effects of pesticides can be grouped: those that directly affect the exposed individual, e.g. Infertility, aplastic anemia, cancer and various disorders, And which are seen in their children, like Teratogenesis, mutation, alteration of the immune system or nervous system,

For this reason, scientists have been researching for decades on ways to help Avoid using pesticides, These methods of controlling pests, diseases and weeds include: organic which consists of Use living organisms to control the population of another organism,

Entomopathogenic nematodes parasitize insects. And they have long been used in biological control programs against pests in agriculture. Nematodes of the Steinernema family, discovered a century ago, They are not harmful to humans or other mammals,

Some nematode species have a wide host range, e.g. steinernema carpocapsai which can infect about 200 insects, while others have a specific host range, such as steinernema scapeterisci which is adapted to infecting only insects within the order Orthoptera.

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Ucr Nematologist Adler Dillman And His Colleagues In Their Laboratory.

In laboratory tests, nematodes may have a guest category Wider than normal that doesn’t move across the field. However, the species that are in natural environments are well adapted to those environmental conditions and are effective against existing pests.

Biological control agents

Scientists at the University of California Riverside (UCR) have made a discovery new species of worm whom they called Also Steinernema, which both infects and kills insects. with that distinction These tiny insects can control crop pests in hot and humid places Where other beneficial nematodes cannot currently grow.

guest series of steinernema adams This has not been explored yet, so future studies should focus on that aspect to identify potential hosts. Improve effectiveness in biological control,

One thing is clear: steinernema adams Kill insects. The researchers confirmed this by placing some of these nematodes in containers with moths. “They were killed in two days by a very low dose of worms,” recalls Dillman. Since they are members of a genus that can infect hundreds of insects, researchers are confident it will be “very beneficial,” even if it is a parasite. SPECIALIST hey generalist,

In the future, researchers hope to discover the unique properties of this nematode. “We still don’t know whether it can resist heat, ultraviolet light, or dryness. Nor do we know how many types of insects it is able to infect,” says Dillman.

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Specimens Of A New Species Of Nematode.

Specimens of a new species of nematode. / Adler Dillman / UCR

The discovery of this new species has important implications for evolution Effective biological control agents in Thailand And in areas with similar weather conditions.

“Although there are more than 100 species of Steinernema, we are always looking for new species because each has unique characteristics. Some may grow better in certain climates or with certain insects,” says nematodeologist Adler Dillman, whose laboratory Has made this discovery.

“Our work contributes to our understanding of the diversity and evolution of entomopathogenic nematodes,” say the authors of the study, which has just been published in the Journal of Parasitology.

Almost invisible to the naked eye

The discovery was accidental: Dillman’s laboratory had requested specimens of Steinernema, and DNA analysis revealed that they were not the species he had requested. “Genetically, they were different from anything described so far,” explains Dillman.

Newly discovered species of insects are almost invisible to the naked eye, about half the width of a human hair and just less than a millimeter in length. “Several thousand powders in a flask look like water,” says Dillman.

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Discoverers have named the new species steinernema adams In honor of American biologist Byron Adams, chairman of the biology department at Brigham Young University. “ADAMS has helped refine our understanding of nematode species and their important roles in soil ecology and nutrient recycling,” says Dillman. He added, “I thought it was a fitting tribute to him.”

Adams, who is currently researching nematodes in Antarctica, is honored that such a “fantastic” species bears his name in the scientific literature. even more so because The biology of this animal is “absolutely fascinating” notes.

“In addition to its obvious applications for reducing human suffering caused by insects and pests, it also teaches us much about the ecological and evolutionary processes involved in the complex interactions between parasites, pathogens, their hosts, and their environmental microbiomes ,” They said.

“It’s exciting because Discovery adds another ‘insect’ that could teach us interesting new biology, They also come from warm, humid climates, which may make them a good insect parasite in environments where currently commercially available garden nematodes are not able to thrive,” Dillman concluded.


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