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New biopesticide offers promise for managing Colorado Potato Beetle

The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata)a pest of potatoes and other members of the nightshade family, causes about half a billion dollars in crop losses globally each year. Chemical insecticides can be used to try to manage this pest, but with continued use the beetles often develop insecticide resistance to these chemicals, as John P. Roche reports in an article published in Entomology Today.

According to Roche, a new insecticide, known as ledprona, has been developed using a process called RNA interference that suppresses elimination of a damaged protein in the beetles and offers promise to help provide control.

Researchers at the University of Maine at Orono and GreenLight Biosciences in North Carolina tested the effects of ledprona on mobility and reproduction in Colorado potato beetles, reporting their findings in a study published in March in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

Ledprona is what’s termed a “biopesticide” because it is based on double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), a biological molecule. It is manufactured by GreenLight Biosciences, under the brand name Calantha.

“Ledprona has a totally new mode of action unlike any other insecticide,” says Andrei Alyokhin, Ph.D., at the University of Maine at Orono. “The majority of insecticides target some kind of a protein inside their target pests. Ledprona, on the other hand, prevents a protein from being synthesized by targeting mRNA.”

Source: Entomology Today. Read the full article here
Photo: Credit Peggy Greb, USDA Agricultural Research Service, via Entomology Today

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