Thursday, July 22, 2010

WASPS AGAINST MANIOC MEALYBUGS











Thanks to the entomologist's pioneer efforts Hans Herren (biocontrol of crops’ plagues) and the current collaboration of institutions like the International Center Tropical for Agriculture (CIAT), International Institute Tropical of Agriculture (IITA) and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Thailand prepares to drop from the air to 250 000 tiny wasps (Anagyrus lopezi), with the purpose of eliminating Cassava mealybugs (Phenacoccus manihoti) that alone feeds of cassava (manioc), and has begun to destroy 200 000 cultivated hectares with manioc, essential staple in the diet of millions of Asian people. The 2 mm long wasps don't constitute a threat for human or animals. Females wasps inject their eggs to the interior of Cassava mealybugs killing them as the larva grows. Considering -according to Tony Bellotti (CIAT)- that 60% of the global exports (1.5 billion dollars), of Thailand are of manioc; the employment of expensive chemicals that damage ecosystems and contaminate foods, would be an environmental vandalism. The scientist added that wasps carry out his job quickly and effectively. However in the long term it is hoped to develop genetic varieties of manioc with resistance to mealybugs.



AVISPAS CONTRA DEPREDADORES DE LA YUCA



Merced a los esfuerzos pioneros del entomólogo Hans Herren (biocontrol de plagas de cosechas) y la colaboración actual de instituciones como el International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) y el Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Tailandia se apresta a lanzar desde el aire a 250 000 diminutas avispas (Anagyrus lopezi), con el fin de eliminar al insecto de la mandioca (Phenacoccus manihoti), que solo se alimenta de mandioca y ha empezado a destruir 200 000 hectareas cultivadas con mandioca, esencial en la dieta de millones de asiáticos. Las avispas de 2 mm no constituyen una amenaza para humanos o animales. Las hembras inyectan sus huevos al interior de los insectos de la mandioca, matandolos a medida que la larva crece. Considerando -según Tony Bellotti (CIAT)- que el 60 % de las exportaciones globales (1.5 billones de dólares), de Tailandia son de mandioca; el empleo de quimicos caros que dañan ecosistemas y contaminan alimentos, seria un vandalismo medioambiental. Añade el científico que las avispas realizan su trabajo rápida y efectivamente. Empero en el largo plazo se espera desarrollar variedades geneticas de mandioca con resistencia a insectos depredadores.

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