Controlling whiteflies: How marigold is helping to promote safer alternatives for pest management

Marigold (Asteracae) are commonly used as tools for the prevention of whitefly infestations in fields (© Pexels)

In a recently published study, researchers have identified the natural insect repelling chemical produced by marigold, reinforcing what farmers have culturally used for years as a tool to prevent or reduce whitefly infestations.

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Using rice to filter pesticide runoff

It may be practical to use rice crops to naturally filter and dissipate pesticide runoff from agricultural land (© Pexels)

Rice has been a staple food crop for millions of people for hundreds of years. This important crop is now a major part of 20% of the world’s population, with it being grown on every continent except Antarctica.

Whilst rice is known to be an important part of our diet, recently published research has shown how rice can be used in a unique way; to clean chemical runoff from farms before it can enter local water sources.

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New guidelines for addressing highly hazardous pesticides

The new guidelines list the 8 criteria which determine whether a pesticide is highly hazardous © USAID Egypt (CC BY-NC)
The new guidelines list 8 criteria which determine whether a pesticide is highly hazardous © USAID Egypt (CC BY-NC)

Written by Melanie Bateman, CABI

There are many different ways in which pesticides can potentially cause harm to human health or to the environment. For example, substances which are acutely toxic can knock someone down rather rapidly, with symptoms felt within a short space of time. Chronic toxicity, on the other hand, can lead to effects which develop slowly following long and continuous exposure to low concentrations of a hazardous pesticide. Potential consequences of chronic exposure include health problems such as birth defects, developmental issues, cancers, etc. Pesticides can also impact non-target organisms such predators, pollinators, soil biota and aquatic organisms.  Continue reading

Research Teams and Scientists Working to Stem Ash Dieback Fungus

Diamond shaped lesions characteristic of Ash Dieback Disease, caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea. Image courtesy of The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), Crown Copyright.

Researchers are working towards developing a cost effective solution to controlling  Ash Dieback fungal disease, a major threat to 80 million ash trees in the UK. As part of the plan to tackle Ash Dieback and other invasive pests and diseases, the government has formulated a team of ten internationally recognised experts in plant health, forestry and wider related disciplines as part of the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Taskforce. The taskforce includes three entomologists, Professor Charles Godfray from Oxford University, Professor Simon Leather from Harper Adams University College and Professor John Mumford from Imperial College as well as a number of social and environmental scientists.

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