Gene-silencing—is a new crop protection technique that acts as a better alternative to chemical products. This technique gives crops an added ability to ward off pests and diseases by targeting crop genes without altering the DNA.
By using a non-toxic, degradable spray based on nanotechnology, gene silencing contributes in tackling the two greatest threats to global food crops—pests and diseases. By combining clay nanoparticles with designer ‘RNAs’ (molecules with essential roles in gene biology), it is possible to silence certain genes within plants. The spray has been shown to give plants virus protection for at least 20 days following a single application. When sprayed, the plant ‘thinks’ it is being attacked by a disease or pest insect and responds by protecting itself.
With the crop industry striving towards achieving global food security, the need for new technologies such as ‘gene silencing’ is a way forward to solve global challenges affecting crop protection. Global Crop Protection 2017, conference scheduled 13-14 March 2017, in Brussels, Belgium, aims to disseminate knowledge on numerous approaches that integrates practices for economic control of pests. Addressing the need of integrated pest management for sustainable agriculture, Researcher from Julius Kuehn-Institute will highlight the leading complement and alternatives to synthetic pesticides, along with the best combination of cultural, biological and chemical measures to manage diseases, insects, weeds and other pests; taking into account all relevant control tactics and methods that are locally available, evaluating their potential cost-effectiveness.