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Biotechnology in crop protection: Towards sustainable insect control

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Martin EdwardsORCiD, Professor Angharad MR GatehouseORCiD


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With a projected increase in world population to 10 billion over the next four decades, an immediate priority for agriculture is to achievemaximum production of food and other products in a manner that is environmentally sustainable and cost effective. Whilst insecticides are very effective in combating the immediate problem of insect attack on crops, nonspecific insecticides are harmful to beneficial organisms including predators and parasitoids of the target pest species. The concept of utilizing a transgenic approach to host plant resistance was realized in the mid 1990s with the commercial introduction of transgenic maize, potato and cotton plants expressing genes encoding the entomocidal δ-endotoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Other strategies based on the use of plant-derived genes (enzyme inhibitors, lectins) and those from animal sources, including insects (biotin-binding proteins, neurohormones, enzyme inhibitors), are currently being developed. The use of fusion proteins to increase the spectrum and durability of resistance is also actively being pursued. Biotechnology in crop protection is not restricted to production of transgenic crops, and has been extended to include the modification of baculoviruses for increased efficacy as biopesticides, and arthropod natural enemies (predators and parasitoids) to enhance their capacity to control insect pests, this chapter will only consider the benefits and risks of its role in the context of insect-resistant transgenic crops. © 2007 Springer.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Edwards MG, Gatehouse AMR

Editor(s): Vurro, M, Gressel, J

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Novel Biotechnologies for Biocontrol Agent Enhancement and Management

Year: 2007

Pages: 1-23

Print publication date: 01/01/2007

Series Title: NATO Security through Science Series A: Chemistry and Biology

Publisher: Springer

Place Published: Netherlands


DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-5799-1_1

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781402057977