IFAS News

University of Florida

Genetic modification turns plant virus into delivery vehicle for green-friendly insecticide, say UF researchers

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biocontrols, Entomology and Nematology, New Technology, Pests, Research

By:
Tom Nordlie (352) 392-0400

Source(s):
Dov Borovsky – contact Tom Nordlie at: tnordlie@ufl, 352-392-0400
Charles Powell capowell@ifas.ufl.edu, 772-468-3922 ext. 123

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A plant-destroying virus farmers call one of their worst enemies may soon be an ally in the fight against crop pests and mosquitoes, say University of Florida researchers.

Scientists genetically modified tobacco mosaic virus so that it produces a natural, environmentally friendly insecticide, turning the pathogen into a microscopic chemical factory, said Dov Borovsky, an entomologist with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The modified virus is almost completely harmless to plants and simply produces the insecticide. (more …)

UF researchers find new chink in a ‘superbug’s’ armor

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, Research

By:
Stu Hutson 352-392-0400Source(s):
Valérie de Crécy-Lagard, vcrecy@ufl.edu, 352-392-9416, http://microcell.ufl.edu/deCrecy.html

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Infections from drug-resistant forms of Staphylococcus bacteria are skyrocketing and have even recently made headlines by debilitating some of the NFL’s toughest players. Tools to fight these bugs are few, but now University of Florida researchers have used cutting-edge genetic analysis to find a new weak spot in this “superbug’s” armor.

The weak spot is a specialized enzymatic process responsible for producing folate. Among humans, folate is best known for being an essential part of a pregnant woman’s diet. This is because folate plays an essential role in cell division. (more …)

German cockroaches winning the war against pest control baits

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Household Pests

By:
Chuck Woods (352) 392-0400

Source(s):
Phil Koehler pgk@ufl.edu, 352-392-2484
Barbara Bayer bbayer@ufl.edu, 352-392-2326

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The German cockroach — one of the most common and hated household pests — is winning the war against some of the newest insecticides and baits, according to University of Florida researchers.

“Whatever you throw at them, they have an amazing ability to quickly adapt and overcome adversity,” said Phil Koehler, an entomology professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “We know that they have developed resistance to many of the most widely used insecticides, and now they are turning up their noses at baits, including some that were very effective just a few years ago.” (more …)

Allergy-free protein shows hope for a risk-free peanut

Topic(s): Agriculture, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, New Technology, Nutrition, Safety

By:
Stu Hutson 352-392-0400

Source(s):
Maria Gallo mgm@ufl.edu, 352-273-8124

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For nearly 3 million Americans, the most dangerous aspect to air travel is the complimentary in-flight snack. Every year, about 150 people are killed by a common ingredient of a first-grader’s brown bag lunch.

Peanut allergies are the most common and often the most severe of all food allergies, but now researchers from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences may have taken an important first step toward creating a non-allergenic peanut. (more …)

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