Agricultural Research Service scientists are tapping into the biochemistry of aphids to develop a biocontrol agent that may keep the pest away farms.


Aphids spread diseases that cost farmers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.


Some of the insecticides available are not environmentally friendly, and because aphids are developing insecticide resistance, some growers are being forced to use more of the chemicals.

Ronald

Nachman, a chemist with the ARS Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center at College Station, Texas, is working with chemical signals known as neuropeptides that aphids and other organisms use to control and regulate a wide range of body functions, such as digestion, respiration, water intake and excretions.


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