What difference is GM making to Australian cotton crops?

IUPAC Symposium 3B – Changing Pesticide use and Risk Scenarios with the Introduction of GM Crops Monday 3:30pm

Gary Fitt, CSIRO Entomology

GM cotton was released in 1996, as part of the fight back against Helicoverpa – arguably the most destructive agricultural pest in the world.  Bollgard II varieties now make up 90% of the Australian cotton industry. What difference have they made?

Gary Fitt from CSIRO Entomology in Queensland will report that farmers have reduced pesticide use by up to 90% providing on-farm benefits and greatly reducing environmental disruption.

Read More about What difference is GM making to Australian cotton crops?

New perfumes for bugs

IUPAC Symposium 4B – Natural Products, Tuesday 4pm

John Pickett, Rothamsted Research

John Pickett and his British colleagues are creating new kinds of perfumes or attractants for pest insects.

They’re employing farnesyl diphosphate—the ‘parent’ molecule  that insects use as the starting point for many chemical signals such as sex pheromones—to create new, more powerful attractants that will be cheaper and easier to make.

Use your spray smarter: save money and the environment

IUPAC Symposium 4B – Formulation, Efficacy and the Environment

Monday 4:30pm

Heping Zhu, United States Department of Agriculture

“Current label-recommended levels of pesticides for spray application technology, pest pressure and crop growth structure are vague, frequently resulting in excessive use of pesticide,” says Heping Zhu from the USDA in Ohio.

Read More about Use your spray smarter: save money and the environment

Fighting termites – with a natural chemical from an Aussie tree

David Leach, Southern Cross University

A wood extract has been registered as the first natural termiticide in Australia by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Administration.

David Leach and his colleagues from Southern Cross University and the University of Western Sydney identified the active extract in Eremophila mitchellii also known as budda, false sandalwood.

The achievement illustrates the potential to learn new tricks from Australia’s native plants and animals.

Read More about Fighting termites – with a natural chemical from an Aussie tree

A new chick magnet – if you’re a moth

IUPAC Symposium 3A – Chemical Ecology and Crop Protection, Thursday 9:30am

Peter Gregg, Cotton CRC

A plant perfume that attracts female moths—a world-first attractant invented by the Cotton Catchment Communities CRC and its partner Ag Biotech Australia—is already reducing pesticide use by Queensland and NSW cotton growers.

Peter Gregg and his colleagues have developed a ‘moth magnet’ that attracts Helicoverpa, the cotton boll worm moth which causes billions of dollars of damage to agriculture world-wide.

Read More about A new chick magnet – if you’re a moth

Tracking malaria resistant mosquitos: a new tool

IUPAC Symposium 1A – Resistance Management: Insect Disease Vectors & Agricultural Pests Tuesday 2:30pm

Hilary Ranson, The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Pyrethroid insecticides are the front line weapon of choice against malaria-carrying mosquitos.

These are the only class of insecticide that can be used to treat bednets and they are being used extensively for indoor spraying (replacing DDT in many areas). These two interventions are being rolled out on a massive scale across Africa (the goal is to achieve 80% coverage).

Read More about Tracking malaria resistant mosquitos: a new tool

Putting the spray where you need it

Paul Miller, Waterborne Environmental, Inc

UK scientist Paul Miller will be presenting his work on modelling and thus minimising spray drift.

His work with field trials, wind tunnels and simulations have shown that boom height and the droplet size distribution from the nozzles are the most important variables influencing drift risk with changes in boom height having a greater effect than changes in wind speed.

Read More about Putting the spray where you need it

New antibiotics on the way

Designing new dual action antibiotics

RACI Symposium – Antibacterials, Monday 9:00am

John Bremner, University of Wollongong

Matthew Cooper, University of Queensland

Multidrug resistant bacteria are a major health issue around the world and new effective drugs are clearly urgently needed.

John Bremner and his colleagues are presenting their approach to creating new antibiotics to fight against drug resistant strains of golden staph (Staphylococcus aureus) and other pathogens. They’ve created synthetic antibiotics inspired by vancomycin.

And Mathew Cooper and his colleagues at the University of Queensland have developed a novel strategy of linking an out-of-patent antibiotic, vancomycin, to small protein fragments to produce a new class of anti-bacterials.

Read More about New antibiotics on the way