They discover a new species of worm that can protect crops without using pesticides

pesticide is used agriculture controlling weeds, insect infestations and diseases. There are many different types of pesticides, and each is used to control specific pests. However The use of pesticides is not harmless; They can cause serious damage to the environment, flora, fauna and people..

The main long-term effects of pesticides can be grouped as follows: those that directly affect the exposed person; infertility, aplastic anemia, cancer and various disorders; and those observed in their offspring, e.g. teratogenesis, mutagenesis, changes in the immune system or nervous system.

For this reason, scientists have been researching methods that can help in this regard for decades. avoid the use of pesticides. These methods for controlling pests, diseases, and weeds include: biologicalconsisting of Using living organisms to control populations of another organism.

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

Some nematode species have a wide host range. Steinernema carpocapsaecan infect approximately 200 insects, while others have a specific host range; Steinernema scapterisciIt is adapted to infect only insects within the order Orthoptera.

UCR nematologist Adler Dillman and colleagues in their laboratory. Stan Lim/UCR


In laboratory tests, nematodes guest range It is wider than normal and cannot be transferred to the field. However, species found in the natural environment adapt well to these environmental conditions and are effective against existing pests.

biological control agents

Scientists at the University of California Riverside (UCR) have discovered something new worm speciesthey are looking for Steinernema alsoThis also infects and kills insects. In particular These tiny worms can control crop pests in warm and humid places where other beneficial nematodes cannot currently thrive.

Guest range Steinernema Adamsi future studies should focus on this aspect to identify potential hosts as it has not yet been investigated and therefore increase the effectiveness of biological control.

One thing is clear: Steinernema Adamsi kill insects. The researchers confirmed this by placing some of these nematodes in containers containing moths. “They were killed within two days with a very low dose of worms,” Dillman recalls. Because they are members of a genus that can infect hundreds of insects, researchers are confident they will be “very useful” whether they are parasites or not. expert anyone generalist.

In the future, researchers hope to discover the unique characteristics of this nematode. “We still don’t know if it can withstand heat, ultraviolet light, or dryness. We also don’t know the range of insects it can affect,” Dillman says.

Specimens of the new nematode species. Adler Dillman/UCR


The discovery of this new species has important consequences for the development of the species. 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 be better in certain climates or with certain insects,” says Adler Dillman, a nematologist whose laboratory made the discovery.

“Our study adds to our understanding of the diversity and evolution of entomopathogenic nematodes,” say the authors of the study, newly published in the Journal of Parasitology.

Almost invisible to the naked eye

The discovery was serendipitous: Dillman’s lab had requested samples of Steinernema, and DNA analysis revealed that they were not the species they wanted. “They were genetically unlike anything ever described,” Dillman explains.

Worms of newly discovered species almost invisible to the naked eye, about half the width of a human hair and just under a millimeter long. “It’s like water with a few thousand powders in a bottle,” Dillman says.

Explorers named new species Steinernema Adamsi Named in honor of American biologist Byron Adams, chairman of the Department of Biology at Brigham Young University. “Adams helped advance our understanding of nematode species and their important role in soil ecology and nutrient recycling,” says Dillman. “I thought it was a fitting tribute to him,” he adds.

Adams, who currently researches nematodes in Antarctica, is honored to have such a “cool” species bearing his name in the scientific literature. Even more because This animal’s biology is “absolutely fascinating”he comments.

“Besides its obvious applications for alleviating human suffering caused by insects and pests, it also has much to teach us about the ecological and evolutionary processes involved in the complex relationships between parasites, pathogens, their hosts, and their environmental microbiomes,” he notes.

“It’s exciting because Discovery adds another ‘pesticide’ that could teach us interesting new biology. They also come from a warm, humid climate, which may make them good insect parasites in environments where currently commercially available orchard nematodes cannot thrive,” Dillman concludes.

Reference report: https://meridian.allenpress.com/journal-of-parasitology/article/110/1/22/498907/STEINERNEMA-ADAMSI-N-SP-RH ABDITIDA

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Contact address of the environmental department:krisclimatica@prensaiberica.es

Source: Informacion

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