Sugar may be tenacious termite’s Achilles heelJune 9th, 2009 - 5:32 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, June 9 (ANI): Scientists in the US have come up with a cheap, environmentally friendly way to kill termites and other pests.
In their study, they have found that a substance derived from glucose can weaken the insects’ immune systems, making them vulnerable to infections from lethal microbes.
According to researchers, the findings could give rise to a whole new class of safer pest-control treatments.
“We wanted something environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and [that] does not play a toxic role,” said study co-author Ram Sasisekharan, a biological engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Termites are vulnerable to just a few types of microbes, and evolution has armed the insects with a specific weapon against disease: a protein in their bodies that acts like an antimicrobial agent.
Sasisekharan said that for added protection at home, the insects secrete this protein into their nests, where it releases compounds that fight off microbial invasion - a “very clever way of ensuring that microbes don’t infest the colonies.”
However, when researchers exposed termites to a glucose derivative called GDL, the substance blocked the insects’ protective protein from forming, and the termites quickly died of disease.
“We do hope that [this] different approach-which is hopefully more selective and less toxic-would be a newer opportunity” for pest control, Sasisekharan said.
The inexpensive sugar derivative could also work on other pests, such as locusts and cockroaches.
The findings will appear in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)
- New 'wet feet' repellent may make cockroaches history - Oct 13, 2009
- Azad mourns slow work on drug-resistant microbes - Sep 06, 2011
- Scientists unravel salmonella's 'dirty bag of tricks' - Feb 07, 2011
- Tobacco's content of toxic nicotine 'makes it an excellent green pesticide' - Oct 28, 2010
- Cockroaches could help combat E.coli - Sep 05, 2010
- Worker ants can kill termites - Dec 15, 2011
- How solitary locusts turn maurading bands - Aug 30, 2012
- New technology can keep linen, clothing germ-free - Jul 06, 2011
- Cockroaches could help fight MRSA, E.coli - Sep 05, 2010
- Deadly superbugs can come from animal farms too - Jan 26, 2011
- Watch out for sexually transmitted 'superbug': Expert - Nov 01, 2011
- Alternatives to antibiotics in sight - Jun 09, 2011
- Gut bugs have vital bearing on health, immunity - Oct 11, 2011
- Insect inspires ultra-strong alternative to plastic - Dec 19, 2011
- Now, e-waste to help in destroying bacterial infections - Jun 25, 2010
Tags: achilles heel, antimicrobial agent, biological engineer, cockroaches, gdl, immune systems, journal proceedings, locusts, massachusetts institute of technology, microbial invasion, national academy of sciences, pest control treatments, pests, proceedings of the national academy, proceedings of the national academy of sciences, protective protein, ram sasisekharan, termite, termites, types of microbes