Sydney NSW, Australia
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Targeted pest control with RNA spray


by Désirée Schulz, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Protecting plants efficiently against pests without harming other organisms—this is the objective of the joint research project ViVe_Beet, which is coordinated by the Julius Kühn Institute (JKI). Scientists from the JKI Institute for Plant Protection in Field Crops and Grassland, the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Sugar Beet Research (IfZ) are involved in the project.

The strategy adopted by the project partners involves the use of customized double-stranded RNA molecules, incorporated into a suitable formulation. This formulation is then applied through conventional application methods to protect sugar beets from yellowing viruses in the future.

Application of synthetic chemical insecticides and pesticides in agriculture has a negative impact on insect diversity and bee health. To avoid such harm, the EU phased out approval of systemically effective neonicotinoids in 2019. However, this has led to new issues in agriculture, particularly because green peach aphids (Myzus persicae), among the insects displaying high resistance to synthetic chemical insecticides, have proven exceptionally challenging to manage.

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