New research reveals that plants emit their own form of pesticides to get rid of insect attackers. In a recent study, researchers studied how rice plants can be forced to emit this natural pesticide with environmentally friendly chemicals. The main invasive pest that attacks rice plants is the white-backed planthopper. This pest attacks the plant in two devastating ways. They first can cause a yellowing or “hopper burn,” which damages the grains and causes the plant to wilt. They also transmit a virus called southern rice black-streaked dwarf virus, which keeps the plants from “heading” and keeping the plant from being pollinated and stunts the plant’s growth.
Using a special screening system, researchers identified five chemicals that can be used to switch on a plant’s automatic defense mechanism, and force them to emit their own chemical that gets rid of planthoppers. One huge bonus of these chemicals is that they are environmentally friendly and non-toxic to humans and animals. This would also prevent the killing of beneficial insects, as the chemical the plant releases specifically targets pests like the planthopper
What do you think of this possible new method of pest control?