twitter RSS Feed linkedin acp contact

Biopesticide to become more lethal against African crop pest

An unexpected discovery could make Tanzania's microbial biopesticide, SpexNPV, up to 14 times more effective against the African armyworm

Tanzania_African_armyworms1The finding could multiply the effectiveness of microbial biopesticide by up to 14 times. (Images source: Ecology Letters)

Researchers from EcoAgriConsult Limited (Tanzania) and universities of Lancaster and Greenwich, have been working on a new strategy to control the African armyworm and other insect crop pests.

The team discovered that infection with a particular strain of Wolbachia, an intra-cellular bacterium, made mosquitoes more susceptible to viral infections carried by them and had the same effect on African armyworms.

"The African armyworm population carrying lots of Wolbachia also have much higher viral loads and more of these caterpillars die naturally of viral disease," said Lancaster Environment Centre project leader Professor Ken Wilson.

The biopesticide, which could be produced cheaply and locally, is a baculovirus that naturally infects and kills the African armyworm said. It leaves the beneficial insects, livestock and humans completely unharmed, the researchers said.

The African armyworm, a caterpillar pest with a voracious appetite, feeds on cereal crops such as maize, wheat, millet and rice, sometimes resulting in total crop loss. Its density could go up to 50,000 caterpillars per hectare.

University of Greenwich researcher David Grzywacz, a co-author of Ecology Letters which has published the findings, said "Adult armyworm moths are highly migratory and disperse over vast areas of sub-Saharan Africa, so it will be a challenge to learn how best to exploit these novel findings for better control of African armyworm."

The Lancaster-led research team however has been optimistic that if similar results are replicated in other crop pests, the mass-release of Wolbachia-infected insects might turn out to be an important weapon to control pests that threaten the African continent's food security.


LATEST NEWS IN Agriculture

Gambia-Korea partnership seeks to double rice production to curb food insecurity

Gambia-Korea partnership seeks to double…

President Adama Barrow has received a delegation led by the Korean Ambassador to The Gambia, HE Kim Ji-Joon, at the State House in Banjul to announce the delivery of sample rice...

World Sustainability Organization chooses Zambia as the first African Sustainability Hub

World Sustainability Organization choose…

The World Sustainability Organization and Foundation (WSO&F) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Zambian Government, to make Zambia the African Sustainability Hub 

Rallying call to improve African and global cotton production

Rallying call to improve African and glo…

As the business of cotton production continues to attract global attention, there are concerns about how sustainable the practice of growing, harvesting, and production will be, especially for lower income...

Research and farming institution from Zimbabwe wins FAO Award

Research and farming institution from Zi…

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) honoured three research and farming institutions, one of which was from Zimbabwe

Building community and ecological resilience through forest landscape restoration

Building community and ecological resili…

The Atebubu and Wiase Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) Living Lab is offering a more resilient food system, greater income and the opportunity to restore nature to farmers living in the...

European Investment Bank to support increased rice production in Liberia

European Investment Bank to support incr…

The European Investment Bank is planning to support large-scale investment to increase rice production and enhance food security in Liberia

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Agriculture

Land O’Lakes buys majority stake in Villa Crop Protection

Land O’Lakes buys majority stake in Vill…

US agribusiness giant Land O’Lakes, Inc. has bought a controlling 52.5 per cent stake in South Africa’s Villa Crop Protection

Heavy rainfall affecting agriculture activities in northern Ghana: Study

Heavy rainfall affecting agriculture act…

A study conducted by WaterAid Ghana, a water and sanitation focused organisation, has revealed that erratic and increasing volumes of rainfall caused by climate change is adversely affecting agriculture production in Northern...

EU provides US$16mn support to improve Ethiopia’s coffee sector

EU provides US$16mn support to improve E…

The European Union (EU) has provided US$16.5mn to support the competitiveness of Ethiopia’s coffee sector

African Farming weekly digest - 27th - 31st March

African Farming weekly digest - 27th - 3…

Here is a brief overview of the week's new on africanfarming.net, from 27 - 31 March 2017

Precision farming market to see stupendous growth till 2029, says Fact.MR

Precision farming market to see stupendo…

The global precision farming market set to see a stupendous 12 per cent CAGR from 2019 to 2029, according to Fact.MR

ICRAF, FAO team up to provide cross-sectoral approaches to implement national development goals

ICRAF, FAO team up to provide cross-sect…

In a newly released paper, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) have undertaken a review of broad institutional and stakeholder...

ECOWAS hands over sheep kits and cattle feed to households in Kebbi State

ECOWAS hands over sheep kits and cattle …

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), through its Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (ARAA), has handed over Sheep Kits and Cattle Feed to households in Kebbi state...

AFWE welcomes international exhibitors to South Africa

AFWE welcomes international exhibitors t…

The African Farmers Workshop and Expo (AFWE) showcased a wide range of livestock, machinery, products and services to the growing farming sector at an expo held between 12-14 August 2014...

IFAD calls for smallholder farmers to be placed at the centre of sector exchanges

IFAD calls for smallholder farmers to be…

The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo Nwanze, has called for smallholder farmers from across Africa to be placed at the centre of sector exchanges in order to...

African Development Bank joins online to launch AGRF platform

African Development Bank joins online to…

African Development Bank participates in the launch of African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) platform linking Africa’s SMEs to investment opportunity

GODAN Executive Director underlines importance of data sharing and agricultural statistics

GODAN Executive Director underlines impo…

Andre Laperrière, executive director of GODAN, has underlined the importance of transparency and data sharing at the African Commission on Agricultural Statistics (AFCAS), Gabon

FAO and WFP come together to boost right to food in schools

FAO and WFP come together to boost right…

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have launched a project to improve the diet of school-aged children, with support from...

Prev Next