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From: "ARS News Service" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "ARS News List" <email@example.com>
Subject: Environmentally Friendly Insecticides
Date: Fri, Mar 10, 2000, 6:32 AM
Environmentally Friendly Insecticides Are Sugar-Coated - For Real
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Judy McBride, (301) 504-1628, firstname.lastname@example.org
March 10, 2000
Environmentally friendly insecticides--an oxymoron? Not these sugar
esters tested by Agricultural Research Service and university
entomologists around the country.
They're lethal to mites and soft-bodied insects--whiteflies, aphids,
thrips and pear psylla--almost instantly after contact. Then Mother
Nature takes over, degrading the esters into harmless sugars and fatty
acids. And they do little harm to insect predators and are completely
nontoxic to animals and people. In fact, some are approved as food-grade
AVA Chemical Ventures of Portsmouth, N.H., and ARS recently applied for
a patent on the sugar esters. AVA hopes to have the first of these
compounds on the market by the end of this year, pending registration
with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The sugar esters can kill up to 100 percent of the soft-bodied insects
and mites they contact. And insects are not expected to develop
resistance any time soon because of the way the esters work, according
to ARS entomologist Gary Puterka at the agency's Appalachian Fruit
Research Station in Kearneysville, W.Va. Puterka coordinated the studies
nationwide and is co-inventor on the new patent.
Throughout four years of tests, the sugar esters have been more--or as--
effective as conventional insecticides against mites and aphids in apple
orchards; psylla in pear orchards; whiteflies, thrips and mites on
vegetables; and whiteflies on cotton. Pear psylla have become resistant
even to newer insecticides, according to Puterka, and mites are becoming
The drawbacks: The esters must come into contact with the insect to be
effective, and they don't kill insect eggs. Like insecticidal soaps,
sugar esters kill insects by either suffocating them or by dissolving
the waxy coating that protects them from drying environments.
The concept of using sugar esters as an environmentally friendly insect
control started about 10 years ago when ARS scientists in Beltsville,
Md., found that the leaf hairs of wild tobacco plants exuded a sugar
ester to defend itself against insects and other arthropods.
Scientific contact: Gary J. Puterka, ARS Appalachian Fruit Research
Station, Kearneysville, W.Va., phone (304) 725-3451 X361, fax (304)
remodeler, drummer, farmer, soapmaker
cutting, banging, sowing and milling!
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