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A plant chitinase as powerful pesticide

ChitinaseDrosophila suzukiiESTECHEuphorbia characiasNatural insecticidePest control

Introduction

The enzyme chitinase, purified from the latex of Euphorbia characias, has an insecticidal action against Drosophila suzukii, an insect that attacks and damages strawberry and raspberry plants. The chitinase degrades the insect’s exoskeleton and reduces its larval growth. The enzyme, at effective concentrations on the insect, does not damage host plants.

Technical features

The enzyme chitinase, a protein purified from the latex of Euphorbia characias, acts as insecticide action being able to degrade the exoskeleton and to reduce the larval growth of Drosophila suzukii, an insect that attacks and damages strawberry and raspberry plants. Chitinase is efficient against D. suzukii at concentrations that are harmless to host plants. The use of chitinase of plant origin could represent an environmentally friendly alternative to the use of chemicals for pest control, with reduction of adverse effects such as resistance, mortality of non-harmful insects and persistence in aquatic ecosystems. The control of the insect, and therefore the protection of the crops with less aggressive methods than the chemical treatment, allow the realization of an eco-sustainable agriculture.

Possible Applications

  • Agriculture;
  • Control of plant pest insects, particularly Drosophila suzukii;
  • Protection of strawberry and raspberry fruit crops.

Advantages

  • Development of integrated pest management strategies;
  • Environmentally friendly alternative to chemicals;
  • Less aggressive methods of crop protection;
  • No adverse effects such as resistance;
  • No persistence in aquatic ecosystems;
  • Reduced effects on non-target insects.