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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New Way To Cheat Diamond-back Moth

a diamond-back moth
A diamond-back moth (news.ku.dk)
Diamond-back moth always lays its eggs on cabbage plants, the eggs then hatch into larvae with a very greedy appetite. For farmers, diamond-back moth is a barrier their harvest success. Now, the good news coming for cabbage farmers around the world. The researchers have successfully created a diamond-back moth die of hunger without damaging the plants of cabbage.

"We have discovered a way to cheat the diamond-back moths to lay their eggs on tobacco plants. As their larvae cannot survive on tobacco leaves they will soon starve to death. In the mean time you can cultivate your cabbage at peace," explains MSc in Biology and Biotechnology Morten Emil Møldrup from DynaMo, Center for Dynamic Molecular Interactions, University of Copenhagen.

It sounds like an imaginative scenario too good to be true. None the less Morten Emil Møldrup and his colleagues from DynaMo at University of Copenhagen have shown that it is indeed possible 'to cheat' the greedy little insects in exactly this way. Morten Emil Møldrup has studied the defence compounds of the cabbage family, the so called glucosinolates, exhaustively. Glucosinolates are toxic to cabbage pests in general, the diamond-back moth being one of very few exemptions.

The pregnant diamond-back moth will find a place to lay their eggs on odor of pesticides. For moths, cabbages with odor of pesticides are a good place to lay eggs. Since there are no competition between the moths with other insects. In this way they are sure to lay their eggs. 

After having thoroughly established how a cabbage plants produces defence compounds, Morten Emil Møldrup and his colleagues have successfully transferred the genes responsible for the production of glucosinolates from cabbage into tobacco plants.

"Our experiments show that it is indeed possible to fool the diamond-back moth to lay its eggs on tobacco plants. This is fantastic because the larvae are a major problem all over the world. At present we are aiming at making glucosinolate producing potato plants. The goal is to avoid diamond-back moths’ larvae in cabbage by cultivating potato and cabbage plants together. In this way a lot of money is to be saved, and in addition the growers do not need to use the big amounts of pesticides commonly used today. In this way one may say that our discovery is also of benefit to nature," Morten Emil Møldrup tells.

This article had edited by authors of threelas

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