A green death awaits cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera), an insect pest that considerably reduces cotton yield. Researchers at The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) in New Delhi have developed a biopesticide formulation from eucalyptus that can efficiently fight infestation. Called Bollcure, the extract reduces larval weight up to 88 per cent, hence restricting the larvae population. The formulation is 100 per cent environment friendly and suitable for conventional, organic and Bt cotton crops. Cotton bollworm attacks as many as 181 plant species, including some economically important crops. Besides cotton, it feeds on crops such as pigeonpea, chickpea, tomato and sunflower. Bollworm is difficult to control because of its resistance to most commercially available insecticides.
Anti-fungal agent in methi
Researchers at the University of Hyderabad have developed a potent anti-fungal agent from the common spice methi (fenugreek). Called Tfgd2, the peptide isolated and characterised by the scientists — led by P.B. Kirti of the plant science department — is said to be effective against several toxic fungi that affect crops as well as cause diseases in humans. The findings were reported in the August 10 issue of the journal Current Science. Significantly, this is the second plant molecule of similar traits isolated by the scientists. Last year, the team announced the discovery of Tfgd1 in methi. The peptides belong to a group of plant molecules called defensins.