Dr Sagar Pandit | Pune: Eggplant crop disease will be controlled; breakthrough in curbing fruit and shoot borer female moth’s laying of eggs

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Pune : Dr Sagar Pandit | It is a very expensive and tough task to check pests from spreading in eggplant (brinjal) crops. A path-breaking research conducted by scientists from the IISER and the ICAR has succeeded in curbing the growth of such worms. The scientists have discovered a natural chemical called ‘geraniol’, which deters the spread of the worm. The credit for this goes to the young scientists from the IISER, Pune, who received guidance from Dr Sagar Pandit.

 

They worked on seven different varieties of eggplant. They grew these varieties in a farm on the premises of the IISER and carried out their study. They found that the fruit and shoot borer female moth lays eggs on the leaves of the plant during 9 pm – 1 am. The worm comes out of the egg. It bores shoots and reaches fruits. Dr Sagar Pandit, Rituparna Ghosh, Denis Metze, Surhud Sant, Maruf Shaikh, Dr Ashish Deshpande and Dr Dnyaneshwar Firke were the researchers comprising the team.

 

Safe for human consumption

Brinjal is among the largest consumed vegetables in India after potato and tomato. The eggplant crop requires a heavy insecticide dose for its survival. These worms can damage the crop up to 45 pc to 100 pc. Synthetic insecticides can seriously harm human health. They are carcinogenic. The research will not only protect the crop but will also be safe for human health as ‘geraniol’ is edible. The research paper was published in ‘New Phytologist’, the scientific journal.

 

Fruit and shoot borer worms

The team of scientists observed that the borer moth descends on the eggplant between 9 pm and 1 am. They do not lay eggs on the variety developed by Dr Dnyaneshwar Firke. They wanted to find out the natural chemical present in the plant, which resists the pest. They found that the eggplant emits ‘geraniol’. If the chemical is spread on the plant the borer moth doesn’t descend on the plant and doesn’t lay eggs. Thus, preventing worms and protecting the crop.

 

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