by Jeff Mulhollem, Pennsylvania State University
Flavonoids produced by sorghum leaves have shown promising results in combating fall armyworm larvae. When sprayed on the leaves of corn, sorghum flavonoids stunt the growth of fall armyworm and often kill the pest, Penn State researchers report in a new study.
The results of the research are important, according to Surinder Chopra, professor of maize genetics, because fall armyworm is an invasive insect pest that now damages corn crops around the world, significantly limiting yields. He suggests that flavonoids could be used as the basis for a nontoxic pest-management strategy to protect corn.
Plant flavonoids are natural compounds that often are seen as pigments in some flowers, vegetables and fruits. Flavonoids normally are considered nonessential byproducts of a plant's primary metabolism, which produces sugars and other metabolites that work together to produce seed yield.