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Archive for the ‘pesticides’ Category

Fungus Muscodor Albus Zaps Crop Pests

Posted by feww on February 20, 2010

PUBLIC RELEASE: USAD Research, Education, and Economics

Fungal fumes clear out crop pests

This release is available in Spanish.

A cocktail of compounds emitted by the beneficial fungus Muscodor albus may offer a biologically based way to fumigate certain crops and rid them of destructive pests. That’s the indication from Agricultural Research Service (ARS) studies in which scientists pitted Muscodor against potato tuber moths, apple codling moths and Tilletia fungi that cause bunt diseases in wheat.

Meet Muscodor albus, a stinky white fungus found growing in the twigs of cinnamon trees in the Honduran jungle. After discovering the fungus’ antimicrobial properties, Montana State University researchers recreated the fumes emitted by the organism in the laboratory.  Credit: Montana State University [Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (1.4 MB)]

The scientists—at ARS laboratories in Aberdeen, Idaho; Wapato, Wash., and other locations—conducted separate studies of Muscodor. However, their goal was the same: to learn whether volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by the fungus could replace or diminish the use of synthetic pesticides.

The gases emitted by the fungus M. albus prevent the growth of brown rot on peaches. A treated batch of peaches is shown here next to a control batch, after a 3-day incubation period.  Credit: Agraquest

In field trials conducted since 2007, ARS plant pathologist Blair Goates found that treating wheat seed or the soil with a formulation of Muscodor and ground rye completely prevented common bunt under moderate disease conditions. Caused by the fungus T. tritici, common bunt reduces wheat yields and grain quality. Although chemical fungicide seed treatments have kept common bunt outbreaks to a minimum, alternative controls are worth exploring if the chemicals lose effectiveness or are discontinued, notes Goates, with the ARS Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit in Aberdeen. Results from this study were published in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology.

At the ARS Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory in Wapato, entomologist Lerry Lacey and colleagues tested Muscodor against potato tuber moths, which damage potato leaves and tubers, and apple codling moths, which feed inside apples. In fumigation chamber tests, 85 to 91 percent of adult codling moths died when exposed to Muscodor fumes, while 62 to 71 percent of larvae died or failed to pupate. In apple storage tests, a 14-day exposure to Muscodor killed 100 percent of cocooned codling moth larvae, which are especially difficult to control.

Lacey and colleagues have also been testing Muscodor‘s effectiveness in biofumigating sealed cartons of apples stored at various temperatures. The results have been encouraging so far, he reports, and there appears to be no adverse effect on the apples’ color, firmness or other characteristics.


Read more about this research in the February 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online at:

Contact: Jan Suszkiw
United States Department of Agriculture-Research, Education, and Economics

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Posted in apple codling moths, ARS labs, bunt diseases, pesticides, potato tuber moths | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A third of U.S. birds endangered

Posted by msrb on March 20, 2009

About a third  of all U.S. bird species are endangered, threatened or in significant decline, Hawaiian birds face a “borderline ecological disaster, The State of the Birds

Birds are a national treasure and a heritage we share with people around the world, as billions of migratory birds follow the seasons across oceans and continents.

The following are highlights  of the report overview. The report can be viewed online at:

The boreal forest stretches south frmo the arctic tundra across an area larger than the Amazon rainforest, a blanket of spruces, birch, peat bogs, and other wetlands. Occurring mostly within Canada, the North American boreal forest extends into the United States in Alaska, in states bordering the Great Lakes, and in northern New England. Photo by Garth Lenz

  • Millions of birds travel from around the globe to the arctic each year. Eighty-five bird species rely on the arctic’s long summer days and abundant insect prey to raise their young.
  • Disturbance to tundra from energy exploration and changes caused by global warming are affecting the birds’ food base and transforming arctic habitats. Arctic-breeding birds also face numerous threats during extensive spring and fall migrations.
  • Reducing emissions is critical to slow global climate change, which is already affecting the arctic. Energy development and transportation plans should incorporate the conservation needs of birds.

The future of arctic habitats and birds depends on our ability to curb global climate change and to explore energy resources with minimal impact to wildlife.

Alaska’s arctic coastal plain includes some of the world’s most productive wetlands for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl. The arctic region also includes drier northern uplands and treeless alpine areas on mountaintops. Photo by Gerrit Vyn.

  • Nearly one-quarter of all U.S. birds rely on freshwater wetlands, including more than 50 shorebird species, 17 long-legged waders, and 44 species of ducks, geese, and swans.
  • Wetland bird populations are well below historic levels but management and conservation measures have contributed to increases of many wetland birds, including hunted waterfowl.
  • Degradation and destruction of wetlands reduce clean water and other benefits to society and eliminate critical areas needed by wetland birds.
  • Although coastal areas occupy less than 10% of our nation’s land area, they support a large proportion of our living resources, including more than 170 bird species.
  • Generalist birds, such as gulls, have been extremely successful in developed areas, but specialized species, such as migrating shorebirds, have declined.
  • Coastal habitats continue to suffer from unplanned and unsustainable housing development, pollution, and warming oceans caused by climate change.

Oceans may appear to be homogeneous but are composed of distinct habitats created by massive circulating currents. Human activity has affected the health of our oceans even far from land. Photo by Brian L. Sullivan

Pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and oil harm ocean birds. Major oil spills kill thousands of birds, but small spills and chronic releases from boats and ports also cause significant harm.

Many seabirds consume floating plastic and may feed it to their chicks. Ninety percent of Laysan Albatrosses surveyed on the Hawaiian Islands had plastic debris in their stomachs.

  • At least 81 bird species inhabit our nation’s marine waters, spending their lives at sea and returning to islands and coasts to nest.
  • At least 39% of bird species in U.S. marine waters are believed to be declining, but data are lacking for many species. Improved monitoring is imperative for conservation.
  • Ocean birds travel through waters of many nations and are increasingly threatened by fishing bycatch, pollution, problems on breeding grounds, and food supplies altered by rising ocean temperatures.
  • Aridlands harbor more than 80 nesting bird species, including many unique and beautiful birds found only in deserts, sagebrush, or chaparral.
  • More than 75% of birds that nest only in aridlands are declining and 39% of all aridland birds are species of conservation concern.
  • Habitat loss from urban development, habitat degradation from overgrazing and invasive plants, and a changing climate are causing significant problems for many aridland birds.

Related Links:

Posted in Canaries Dying, Hawaiian birds, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

EU needs more pesticides, scientists claim

Posted by feww on April 24, 2008

Scientists: Reduction in pesticides makes EU uncompetitive!

(Reuters) Scientists from seven European Union countries have warned against a planned reduction in the number of pesticides allowed in the EU, claiming this could increase resistance of pests and make crop cultivation uncompetitive.

“The scientists […] fear that reducing the available range of pesticides could lower their efficiency as it is likely that it will increase resistance.” they said.

The boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) is a beetle measuring an average length of six millimeters, which feeds on cotton buds and flowers. (photo credit: Clinton & Charles Robertson, via wikipedia)

“In order to safeguard the production of food at affordable prices, it is essential to provide farmers with access to sufficient diversity of crop protection solutions.” the scientists’ spokesman from the UK’s Rothamsted Research institute added: “This is essential to prevent or delay the development of resistant pests, and to maintain the efficacy of remaining crop protection products,” he added.

Is their concern legitimate, or are they sacrificing the truth for the sake of their careers? The Chemical giants are doing booming business with their “+cide” products. Are the scientists party to their business “success?” FEWW would welcome any information provided by genuine whistleblowers. [Strict confidentiality of the sources of information is assured.]

A pesticide is a substance or mixture of substances used for preventing, controlling, or lessening the damage caused by a pest. A pesticide may be a chemical substance, biological agent (such as a virus or bacteria), antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest.

Codling moth: It is native to Europe and was introduced to North America, where it has become one of the regular pests of apple orchards. It is found almost worldwide. It also attacks pears, walnuts, and other tree fruits.

Pests include insects, plant pathogens, weeds, mollusks, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes (roundworms) and microbes that compete with humans for food, destroy property, spread or are a vector for disease or cause a nuisance. Although there are benefits to the use of pesticides, there are also drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to humans and other animals.Pesticides are hazardous to some wildlife in the sea because it gets evaporated and goes into the clouds.Then it rains, surface run-off into the sea and poisons them. (Source Wikipedia)

Types of pesticides

There are multiple ways of classifying pesticides:

  • Algicides or Algaecides for the control of algae
  • Avicides for the control of birds
  • Bactericides for the control of bacteria
  • Fungicides for the control of fungi and oomycetes
  • Herbicides for the control of weeds
  • Insecticides for the control of insects – these can be Ovicides (substances that kill eggs), Larvicides (substances that kill larvae) or Adulticides (substances that kill adult insects)
  • Miticides or Acaricides for the control of mites
  • Molluscicides for the control of slugs and snails
  • Nematicides for the control of nematodes
  • Rodenticides for the control of rodents
  • Virucides for the control of viruses (e.g. H5N1)

A weevil of the Curculionidae family: Lixus angustatus (Image credit: Alvesgaspar, via wikipedia)

Weevils are often found in dry foods including nuts and seeds, cereal and grain products. In the domestic setting, they are most likely to be observed when opening a bag of flour although they will happily infest most types of grain including oats, barley and breakfast cereals. Their presence is often indicated by the granules of the infested item sticking together in strings, as if caught in a cobweb. If ingested, E. coli infection and other various diseases can be contracted from weevils, depending on their diet.

Pesticides can also be classed as synthetic pesticides or biological pesticides (biopesticides), although the distinction can sometimes blur.

Broad-spectrum pesticides are those that kill an array of species, while narrow-spectrum, or selective pesticides only kill a small group of species.

A systemic pesticide moves inside a plant following absorption by the plant. With insecticides and most fungicides, this movement is usually upward (through the xylem) and outward. Increased efficiency may be a result. Systemic insecticides which poison pollen and nectar in the flowers may kill needed pollinators such as bees.

Most pesticides work by poisoning pests. (Source Wikipedia)

Posted in environment, food, health, pesticides, poisoning, politics, soil, soil degradation, Water pollution, whistleblower | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Fish Farming: The Hazards, Environmental Impacts

Posted by feww on January 8, 2008

Fish, Antibiotics, Pesticides, Toxic Materials

Has the state of the fish farms improved or deteriorated in the past five years since the following report was released?

“The idea that farmed salmon is good for the environment is a myth, the groups said. They pointed out that a typical salmon farm, which packs hundreds of thousands of fish into an array of sea cages moored just offshore, discharges a wide range of pollutants into fragile ecosystems in places such as Downeast Maine. Over the years, these pollutants have included: antibiotics, pesticides, toxic materials used to coat the cages, thousands of tons of fish waste products, and escaping farm-bred fish themselves, which threaten the survival of wild salmon because they can interbreed and spread disease and parasites. Maine’s wild Atlantic salmon were placed on the federal Endangered Species List in November 2000.”

Full Report:
Groups Call For Action To End Environmental Abuses By Salmon Farming Industry

Posted in antibiotics, Endangered Species, Environmental Impacts, farmed salmon, pesticides, Pregnant Women, toxic materials | 2 Comments »