So what's the problem?
Much of West Africa suffers from the threat of locusts which swarm in great numbers and can decimate farmers crops. The problem is most accute in the summer when abundant rainfall can trigger large swarms of the pest. The use of chemical insecticides can lead to chronic and acute health and environmental problems and is not a long term, sustainable solution.
What is this project doing?
Responding to this, CABI scientists initiated and led a project to develop an environmentally sustainable alternative to chemical insecticides to control locusts. Known as Green Muscle™, it is based on naturally occurring fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae var. acridum, which kills insects. Studies showed that application of the fungus as a mycoinsecticide had no adverse environmental effects, only direct environmental benefits. When the young locusts are first treated with Green Muscle™ they soon become uncoordinated and become easy prey for predators including ants, beetles and birds. The product is applied to the young locusts before they can fly (although it is also effective on adult locusts) using conventional spraying equipment. This incapacitates adn kills the insects within 4-10 days. Usefully, the fungus on which it is based occurs naturally throughout Africa.
CABI is still involved with the project, recently participating in a planning meeting for further studies aimed at increasing speed of uptake by effected countries in Africa.
Results so far
The project revolutionised understanding of biological pesticides using fungi and led to major scientific advances in understanding of how to use fungi effectively for pest control. Many peer reviewed papers were published, enabling co-workers to initiate mycoinsecticide work from a far greater base of knowledge. CABI is, presently, also actively helping the assessment and registration process in other parts of the world. It also continues to licence the product to a S.African Company, BCP and is working towards licensing other production plants in Africa.
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Tropical Fruit Flies of South-East Asia
by R Drew, M Romig
19 July 2013
Hardback / 9781780640358 / £135.00 / $260.00 / €175.00
by J Bürgi
01 October 2009
Hardback / 9781845935696 / £80.00 / $150.00 / €105.00
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