Researchers find broccoli and cabbage by-product are safe pest control for spider mites

Jan 22, 2014 by Jeff Renaud

An international research team, led by Western University, has discovered that a naturally occurring plant by-product, which is not harmful to humans, can be utilized as pest control against spider mites – one of the world's most cosmopolitan (and aggressive) agricultural pests.

In a paper recently published by Plant Physiology, Vojislava Grbić, Miodrag Grbić and Vladimir Zhurov from Western's Faculty of Science and their collaborators successfully demonstrated for the first-time ever how plant and spider mite genomes interact. The findings are the latest from the team that sequenced the genome of the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, in 2011.

Feeding on more than 1,000 different – including 150 of agricultural importance, such as maize, soy, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers – the spider mite causes global damage that approaches $1 billion annually. Insects and mites currently destroy 13 per cent of all potential crops.

Natural by-products, known as indole glucosinolates, are present in Arabidopsis thaliana, which is a small flowering plant from the Brassicaceae family native to Europe and Asia that was used in the study. The molecules are also found in members of the Brassicaceae family, like cabbage and broccoli.

Vojislava Grbić notes that these molecules are not toxic for humans and in some cases, have proved to possess anticancerogenic properties.

"The discovery that indole glucosinolates are toxic to holds incredible potential for developing alternative pest control strategies against this pest that are environmentally safe and consumer-friendly, proving a great substitute for chemical pesticide-based ," explains Grbić.

Explore further: Study solves the bluetongue disease 'overwintering' mystery

More information: Read the full paper: www.plantphysiol.org/content/e… 231555.full.pdf+html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Whiteflies sabotage alarm system of plant in distress

Nov 26, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- When spider mites attack a bean plant, the plant responds by producing odours which attract predatory mites. These predatory mites then exterminate the spider mite population, thus acting ...

Spider mite predators serve as biological control

Nov 02, 2009

The control of spider mites, which damage tree leaves, reduce fruit quality and cost growers millions of dollars in the use of pesticide and oil spraying, is being biologically controlled in Pennsylvania apple ...

Recommended for you

Study solves the bluetongue disease 'overwintering' mystery

Sep 12, 2014

The bluetongue virus, which causes a serious disease that costs the cattle and sheep industries in the United States an estimated $125 million annually, manages to survive the winter by reproducing in the insect that transmits ...

Taking the 'sting' out of reproduction

Sep 12, 2014

(Phys.org) —Female parasitic wasps have more reproductive success when working together with other females, which can also explain sex biased reproduction, according to new research.

Golden retriever study sniffs for cancer clues

Sep 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—Michael Court is a scientist and a dog lover, so he jumped at the chance to enroll his golden retriever in a nationwide study aimed at fighting cancer and other ills in canines.

User comments : 0