New, natural pesticides examined at chemistry symposium March 28

03/19/04

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ANAHEIM, Calif., March 28 Development of a new natural line of defense for crops against deadly parasitic weeds with the help of a lowly fly will highlight a two-day pest management symposium at the 227th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

"Natural Products for Pest Management" begins at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 28, at the Hilton Anaheim, Pacific Ballroom B. Following are some of the topics to be covered:

  • Plant root-derived chemicals as natural herbicides: Biochemical and molecular studies: Jorge M. Vivanco, Ph.D., Colorado State University, Fort Collins, will discuss a noxious, invasive plant that actually produces an anti-toxin through its roots. Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed), found in the western United States, kills other plant life by expelling a phytotoxic chemical, also through its roots. Part of this same toxin, however, was found to kill bacteria in root-infesting pathogens. (AGFD 2, Sunday, March 28, 9:05 a.m.)
  • Microbial natural products as a source of agrochemicals, some examples: Ngo Le-Van, Ph.D., Jealott's Hill International Research Center, Brackness, Berkshire, United Kingdom, will discuss how the search for new, fermentation-driven pesticides could be a useful approach toward overcoming the growing problem of pesticide resistance to some successful commercial pesticides. These new products are effective due to the exceptional biosynthetic capabilities of the microorganisms. (AGFD 12, Sunday, March 28, 1:05 p.m.)
  • Engineering crop resistance to parasitic weeds: James H. Westwood, Ph.D., Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va., will describe his team's success in attacking parasitc weeds with an antibacterial peptide originally isolated from the flesh fly ( its larvae feed on carrion and animal waste). Parasitic weeds can pose a serious problem because they destroy large areas of crops and are difficult to control. See full release from Virginia Tech for more details. (AGFD 28, Monday, March 29, 9:20 a.m.)
  • Actinonin-induced inhibition of plant peptide deformylase: A paradigm for the design of novel broad-spectrum herbicides: Mark A. Williams, Ph.D., University of Kentucky, Agricultural Science Center, Lexington, will describe research on development of new broad-spectrum herbicides and the engineering of herbicide selectivity in plants without using foreign genes. One herbicidal compound under study kills a wide variety of plants and can be designed so that useful crops are resistant to it. (AGFD 30, Monday March 29, 10:30 a.m.)

Source: Eurekalert & others

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