Gel based pest control could become order of the day

Date & Time: 2019-05-09 03:57:48

In the past half century, scientists have identified and synthesised around 1,500 pheromones for different insect species. These have found widespread application in agriculture, forestry and urban pest management. However, for using pheromones on a mass scale, the techniques for dispensing them in fields need to be reliable, economical and simple enough for the farmers to use. For this, many methods, including aerial spraying, have been tried out but with limited success. Many medium (carrier)-based pheromone dispensers have also been developed and are commercially available. But most of them are sensitive to ambient temperature and other atmospheric conditions that limit their use to certain seasons only. To get over these constraints, scientists have now used state-of-the-art nanotechnology to evolve hassle-free gel-based carriers for pheromones called nanogels. They have been found to be the most convenient option for field application of pheromones in all seasons, regardless of the temperature or humidity. Besides, they are easy to transport and do not require specialised storage. Pheromones absorbed in nanogels are released slowly over an extended period to provide longer-term protection against pests. The technology for preparing these nanogels for agricultural use has been evolved by a team of scientists belonging to the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science and the National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources (NBAIR) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. "This simple, practical and low-cost environment-friendly method of pest management has a significant potential for crop protection due to its long-lasting beneficial activity, excellent efficacy and favourable safety profile This technology can be efficiently and economically carried forward from the research laboratory to agricultural fields to control pests of crops such as cotton, pigeon pea, chickpea, tomato, brinjal, coffee, guava, mango, rice