We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Expanding Biological Control of Crop Pests
Essentially this strengthens the effectiveness of using altered males
to hugely reduce pest populations. Because these males are no
longer sterile, they are have normal vigor. The end result is the
same ,but should be way more efficient.
The battle to suppress insect attacks continues until we can figure
out a magic bell jar for our crops. Of course the natural solution
is crop cycling and substantial separation while thus accepting
modest predation but that seems unlikely for the big crops.
Thus suppressing fertility is the best long term solution.
Advance promises to
expand biological control of crop pests
A new discovery
promises to allow expanded use of a mainstay biological pest control
method, which avoids the health, environmental and pest-resistance
concerns of traditional insecticides, scientists are reporting. The
advance toward broadening applicability of the so-called sterile
insect technique (SIT) appears in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology.
Luke Alphey and
colleagues explain that the Lepidoptera, a large family of insects
with a caterpillar stage, cause widespread damage worldwide to
cotton; apples, pears and other fruits; and vegetable crops like
broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
Farmers usually battle
these pests with traditional insects, with little use of SIT, despite
its many advantages. SIT involves mass release of
radiation-sterilized insects, which mate but produce no offspring,
thus reducing the population of pests.
Alphey's team focused
on eliminating major drawbacks that discourage wider use of SIT: They
include difficulty in producing male-only sterile insects without the
use of radiation, which reduces their ability to compete with wild
males for mates.
describe development of a synthetic genetic system that produces
vigorous adult males with lethal information encoded in their
The males mate, and
all the female offspring die, thus reducing the pest populations.
They developed the
"lethal genetic sexing system" in two pests, the pink
bollworm, which damages cotton crops, and the diamondback moth, which
attacks broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetable crops. The
approach could be used on other pests, as well, they state.