Green alternatives to toxic pesticides developed

November 13th, 2008 - 12:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 13 (IANS) Scientists have developed peppers to resist microscopic root-knot nematodes that severely damage horticultural and field crops, causing huge financial losses.Until recently, the primary method for controlling them was fumigation of the soil with methyl bromide (MeBr) before plantation.

MeBr, an odourless, colourless gas widely used as a plant pesticide, was phased out in the US after it was found to deplete the ozone layer.

Judy Thies, plant pathologist at US department of agriculture’s Agricultural research Service, developed the Charleston Belle variety of bell pepper, the first nematode-resistant variety, with other scientists.

Thies and her colleagues tested the stability of two types of bell peppers, Charleston Belle and Carolina Wonder. Thies explained: “These two types of pepper cultivars are the only nematode-resistant varieties available to commercial growers and home gardeners.”

Commercial seed companies are currently developing nematode-resistant hybrid bell peppers using both the peppers, according to a release of American Society for Horticultural Science.

The study was published in HortScience.

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