« Chemical triggers that make plants defend themselves against insects could replace pesticides, causing less damage to the environment. New research published in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters identifies five chemicals that trigger rice plants to fend off a common pest – the white-backed planthopper, Sogatella furcifera
Pesticides are used around the world to control insects that destroy crops. However, in recent years their use has been criticized, because of the detrimental effect they can have on ecosystems, ravaging food chains and damaging the environment. One of the problems with many pesticides is that they kill indiscriminately.
For rice plants, this means pesticides kill the natural enemies of one of their biggest pests, the white-backed planthopper Sogatella furcifera. This pest attacks rice, leading to yellowing or “hopper burn,” which causes the plants to wilt and can damage the grains. It also transmits a virus disease called, southern rice black-streaked dwarf virus, which stunts the plants’ growth and stops them from “heading,” which is when pollination occurs.
Left untreated, many of the insects’ eggs would be eaten, but when pesticides are used these hatch, leading to even more insects on the plants. What’s more, in some areas as many as a third of the planthoppers are resistant to pesticides. (…) »
Xingrui He, Zhaonan Yu, Shaojie Jiang, Peizhi Zhang, Zhicai Shang, Yonggen Lou, Jun Wu. Finding new elicitors that induce resistance in rice to the white-backed planthopper Sogatella furcifera. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 2015; 25 (23): 5601