Natural hormone helps plants get rid of pesticide residue

September 10th, 2009 - 7:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 10 (IANS) Scientists have discovered a naturally occurring hormone that helps plants rid themselves of certain pesticide residues.
Scientists in China are reporting the “intriguing” discovery that a natural plant hormone, applied to crops, can help plants eliminate residues of certain pesticides.

New ways of minimising pesticide residues that remain in food crops after harvest have been sought by scientists - with little success. Previous research suggested that plant hormones called brassinosteroids (BRs) might be an answer to the problem.

Cucumber plants were treated with one type of BR and then various pesticides, including chloropyrifos (CPF), a broad-spectrum commercial insecticide. BR significantly reduced their toxicity and residues in the plants, Jing Quan Yu and colleagues said.

BRs may be “promising, environmentally friendly, natural substances suitable for wide application to reduce the risks of human and environmental exposure to pesticides,” they note.

Farmers worldwide use about 2.5 million tonnes of pesticides each year, according to a release of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The study is slated for publication in the Sep 23 issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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