Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

'Killer spices' provide eco-friendly pesticides for organic fruits and veggies

August 17, 2009

Mention rosemary, thyme, clove, and mint and most people think of a delicious meal. Think bigger-acres bigger. These well-known spices are now becoming organic agriculture's key weapons against insect pests as the industry tries to satisfy demands for fruits and veggies among the growing portion of consumers who want food produced in more natural ways.

In a study presented here today at the American Chemical Society's 238th National Meeting, scientists in Canada are reporting exciting new research on these so-called "essential oil pesticides" or "killer spices." These substances represent a relatively new class of natural insecticides that show promise as an environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional pesticides while also posing less risk to human and animal health, the researcher says.

"We are exploring the potential use of natural pesticides based on plant essential oils - commonly used in foods and beverages as flavorings," says study presenter Murray Isman, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia. These new pesticides are generally a mixture of tiny amounts of two to four different spices diluted in water. Some kill insects outright, while others repel them.

Over the past decade, Isman and colleagues tested many plant essential oils and found that they have a broad range of insecticidal activity against agricultural pests. Some spiced-based commercial products now being used by farmers have already shown success in protecting organic strawberry, spinach, and tomato crops against destructive aphids and mites, the researcher says.

"These products expand the limited arsenal of organic growers to combat pests," explains Isman. "They're still only a small piece of the insecticide market, but they're growing and gaining momentum."

The natural pesticides have several advantages. Unlike conventional pesticides, these "killer spices" do not require extensive regulatory approval and are readily available. An additional advantage is that insects are less likely to evolve resistance - the ability to shrug off once-effective toxins - Isman says. They're also safer for farm workers, who are at high risk for pesticide exposure, he notes.

But the new pesticides also have shortcomings. Since essential oils tend to evaporate quickly and degrade rapidly in sunlight, farmers need to apply the spice-based pesticides to crops more frequently than conventional pesticides. Some last only a few hours, compared to days or even months for conventional pesticides. As these natural pesticides are generally less potent than conventional pesticides, they also must be applied in higher concentrations to achieve acceptable levels of pest control, Isman says. Researchers are now seeking ways of making the natural pesticides longer-lasting and more potent, he notes.

"They're not a panacea for pest control," cautions Isman. Conventional pesticides are still the most effective way to control caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles and other large insects on commercial food crops, he says. "But at the end of the day, it comes down to what's good for the environment and what's good for human health."

The "killer spices" aren't just limited to agricultural use. Some show promise in the home as eco-friendly toxins and repellents against mosquitoes, flies, and roaches. Unlike conventional bug sprays, which have a harsh odor, these natural pesticides tend to have a pleasant, spicy aroma. Many contain the same oils that are used in aromatherapy products, including cinnamon and peppermint, Isman notes.

Manufacturers have already developed spice-based products that can repel ticks and fleas on dogs and cats without harming the animals. Researchers are now exploring the use of other spice-based products for use on fruits and vegetables to destroy microbes, such as E. coil and Salmonella, which cause food poisoning.

Other scientists are currently exploring the insect-fighting potential of lavender, basil, bergamot, patchouli oil, and at least a dozen other oils from exotic plant sources in China. Funding for this study was provided by EcoSMART®, a botanical pesticide company based in Alpharetta, Ga.

American Chemical Society


Related Pesticides Current Events and Pesticides News Articles


Poor communities a 'hotbed' of entrepreneurial creativity, but need help to grow long-term
Necessity can be the mother of invention, but without financial and business development support, many impoverished entrepreneurs can't get past the start-up phase of establishing a unique new business.

Rhythm of 'detox' and feeding genes in fruitflies and mice coordinated by neuropeptide
A 24-hour rhythm of cellular detoxification in flies and mammals is coordinated by a neuropeptide that also drives feeding in both organisms, found a team led by Amita Sehgal, PhD, a professor of Neuroscience and director of the Chronobiology Program, in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Nation's beekeepers lost 44 percent of bees in 2015-16
Beekeepers across the United States lost 44 percent of their honey bee colonies during the year spanning April 2015 to April 2016, according to the latest preliminary results of an annual nationwide survey.

Pesticide exposure may be ALS risk factor
New research shows environmental pollutants could affect the chances a person will develop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

Elevated bladder cancer risk in New England and arsenic in drinking water
A new study has found that drinking water from private wells, particularly dug wells established during the first half of the 20th century, may have contributed to the elevated risk of bladder cancer that has been observed in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont for over 50 years.

Aerial spraying to combat mosquitos linked to increased risk of autism in children
New research to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting suggests that the use of airplanes to spray anti-mosquito pesticides may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays among children.

Phosphorus 'tax' could be huge if tropical farming intensifies
One way to feed the globe's growing population is to ramp up intensive farming in tropical regions, but doing so will require a lot of fertilizer -- particularly phosphorus.

Argentinian researchers develop trap for mosquito that transmits Zika
Argentinian researchers from the Centro de Investigaciones de Plagas e Insecticidas have developed a new trap that can be used to effectively monitor and control the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is the primary transmitter of Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever.

Banned EU pesticide affects learning of honeybees but not bumblebees
Exposure to a pesticide banned by the European Union significantly affects the learning of honeybees but has no effect on bumblebees - scientists from the University of Sussex have discovered.

Common pesticides kill amphibian parasites, study finds
The combined effects of pesticides and parasites threaten wildlife populations worldwide (e.g. amphibians, honeybees).
More Pesticides Current Events and Pesticides News Articles

The Pesticide Encyclopedia

The Pesticide Encyclopedia
by Kalyani Paranjape (Editor), Vasant Gowariker (Editor), V. N. Krishnamurthy (Editor), Sudha Gowariker (Editor)


In today's world, food security is an important issue. Food shortages push prices up, impacting upon the health and well-being of hundreds of millions of rural poor across the globe. One way to increase food security is to decrease the amount of yield lost to pests. The Pesticide Encyclopedia provides a comprehensive overview of the fight against pests, covering chemical pesticides, biocontrol agents and biopesticides. It also covers interrelated topics such as pesticide toxicity, legislation and regulation, handling, storage and safety aspects, IPM techniques, resistance management, interaction of pesticides with soil and the environment.

An important reference for policy makers, advisers and students and researchers of crop science, this book also includes useful notes on...

The Myths of Safe Pesticides

The Myths of Safe Pesticides
by André Leu (Author)


The chemical-based conventional agriculture industry claims that the synthesized concoctions they sell as pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are safe when used as directed, but does the scientific evidence truly support their assertions? Organic agriculturist and lecturer André Leu delves into a wealth of respected scientific journals to present the peer-reviewed evidence that proves the claims of chemical companies and pesticide regulators are not all they seem. Leu translates technical jargon into layman s terms to break down the five most-repeated myths about pesticide safety, refuting them using scientific data. The pesticide industry argues that agriculture, and the global population itself, cannot survive without its products, but Leu warns that we are at risk unless we break...

Pesticides, A Love Story: America's Enduring Embrace of Dangerous Chemicals (Cultureamerica)

Pesticides, A Love Story: America's Enduring Embrace of Dangerous Chemicals (Cultureamerica)
by Michelle Mart (Author)


“Presto! No More Pests!” proclaimed a 1955 article introducing two new pesticides, "miracle-workers for the housewife and back-yard farmer." Easy to use, effective, and safe: who wouldn’t love synthetic pesticides? Apparently most Americans did—and apparently still do. Why—in the face of dire warnings, rising expense, and declining effectiveness—do we cling to our chemicals? Michelle Mart wondered. Her book, a cultural history of pesticide use in postwar America, offers an answer.

America's embrace of synthetic pesticides began when they burst on the scene during World War II and has held steady into the 21st century—for example, more than 90% of soybeans grown in the US in 2008 are Roundup Ready GMOs, dependent upon generous use of the herbicide glyphosate to control...

Banned: A History of Pesticides and the Science of Toxicology

Banned: A History of Pesticides and the Science of Toxicology
by Frederick Rowe Davis (Author)


Silent Spring catalyzed an environmental movement in the 1960s and achieved a ban on DDT, but are the alternatives any less toxic?

Rachel Carson’s eloquent book Silent Spring stands as one of the most important books of the twentieth century and inspired important and long-lasting changes in environmental science and government policy. Frederick Rowe Davis thoughtfully sets Carson’s study in the context of the twentieth century, reconsiders her achievement, and analyzes its legacy in light of toxic chemical use and regulation today.
 
Davis examines the history of pesticide development alongside the evolution of the science of toxicology and tracks legislation governing exposure to chemicals across the twentieth century. He affirms the brilliance of Carson’s careful...

Our Daily Poison: From Pesticides to Packaging, How Chemicals Have Contaminated the Food Chain and Are Making Us Sick

Our Daily Poison: From Pesticides to Packaging, How Chemicals Have Contaminated the Food Chain and Are Making Us Sick
by Marie-Monique Robin (Author), Allison Schein (Translator), Lara Vergnaud (Translator)


Called “terrifying” by L’Express and “a gripping and urgent book for anyone concerned about democracy, corporate power or public health” by Stuffed and Starved author Raj Patel, Our Daily Poison takes award-winning journalist and filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin across North America, Europe, and Asia. The book documents the many ways in which we encounter a shocking array of chemicals in our everyday lives—from the pesticides that blanket our crops to the additives and plastics that contaminate our food—and their effects over time.

“Full of facts, stories, and wisdom” (The Huffington Post), Our Daily Poison follows the trail of the synthetic molecules in our environment and our food, tracing the ugly history of industrial chemical production, as well as the shoddy...

DDT and the American Century: Global Health, Environmental Politics, and the Pesticide That Changed the World (The Luther H. Hodges Jr. and Luther H. ... Entrepreneurship, and Public Policy)

DDT and the American Century: Global Health, Environmental Politics, and the Pesticide That Changed the World (The Luther H. Hodges Jr. and Luther H. ... Entrepreneurship, and Public Policy)
by David Kinkela (Author)


Praised for its ability to kill insects effectively and cheaply and reviled as an ecological hazard, DDT continues to engender passion across the political spectrum as one of the world's most controversial chemical pesticides. In DDT and the American Century, David Kinkela chronicles the use of DDT around the world from 1941 to the present with a particular focus on the United States, which has played a critical role in encouraging the global use of the pesticide. Kinkela's study offers a unique approach to understanding both this contentious chemical and modern environmentalism in an international context.



Pollinator Protection a Bee & Pesticide Handbook

Pollinator Protection a Bee & Pesticide Handbook
by A. Johansen Carl (Author), F. Mayer Daniel (Author), J. Connor Lawrence (Editor)


A handbook designed for use by beekeepers, growers, pesticide applicators, county agents, ag consultants, environmentalists, and research scientists and teachers. The book outlines methods of protecting pollinating bee species to ensure adequate crop pollination. Chapters include: History of Bee Poisoning, Bees and their Relatives, Bee Poisoning Symptoms and Signs, Types of Pesticides, Herbicides, Types of Insecticides, Pesticides Used by Beekeepers, Factors Contributing to Bee Poisoning, Mortality Factors Confused with Poisoning, Food Contamination, Other Contaminant Effects, The Science of Bee Poisoning, Legislation/Regulation, Miscellaneous Poisoning Problems, Reducing Pollinator Damage and Death. There are five Appendixes: Sequential Testing for Bee Hazard, Toxicity of Insecticides...

Pesticide residue analysis by GC-MS/MS and LC-MS/MS: In fruits and vegetables

Pesticide residue analysis by GC-MS/MS and LC-MS/MS: In fruits and vegetables
by Rahul Dukale (Author), Sameer Fattepurkar (Author), Shilpa Udamale (Author)


About Book: This book present the work that the study of investigate pesticide residues in market fruit and vegetables. Pesticide residues were determined by Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. A Multi-residue and PGR methods were described for simultaneous determination of pesticides commonly used in crop protection. This methods used to determine pesticide residues with a broad range of physicochemical properties in fresh fruits and vegetables related to Organophosphorus (OPP), Organochlorines (OCP), Pyrethroids, and Carbamates mainly used in agriculture. Sample extract was cleaned up by using SOP. Pesticide residues above the Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) were detected in some of the samples, but most of sample has no residues or...

Toxic Drift: Pesticides and Health in the Post-World War II South (Walter Lynwood Fleming Lectures in Southern History)

Toxic Drift: Pesticides and Health in the Post-World War II South (Walter Lynwood Fleming Lectures in Southern History)
by Pete Daniel (Author)


Following World War II, chemical companies and agricultural experts promoted the use of synthetic chemicals such as DDT, which had been developed to help the military fight typhoid and malaria abroad, as pesticides on weeds and insects. It was, Pete Daniel points out, a convenient way for companies to apply their wartime research to the domestic market. In Toxic Drift, Daniel documents the particularly disastrous effects this campaign had on the South’s public health and environment, exposing the careless mentality that allowed pesticide application to swerve out of control over twenty-five years. Millions of tons of highly toxic chemicals spread over the South, much of them from crop dusters. The quest to destroy pests, Daniel contends, unfortunately outran research on insect...

The Pesticide Conspiracy

The Pesticide Conspiracy
by Robert Van Den Bosch (Author)


Professor van den Bosch of the University of California was one of the developers of Integrated Pest Management—the use of biological controls, improved pest knowledge and observation, and judicious application of chemicals only when absolutely necessary. His research often suggested that less or no pesticides should be applied, which made him the target of both open and clandestine attack from industry and government figures. In protest, he wrote this passionate account of what Ecology called "the ultimate social disaster of: evolving pesticide-resistant insects, the destruction of their natural predators and parasites, emergent populations of new insect pests, downstream water pollution, atmospheric pollution, the 'accidental' killing of wildlife and people, and the bankruptcies of...

© 2016 BrightSurf.com