Tarantula insecticide

Photo credit: Margaret C. Hardy Photo credit: Margaret C. Hardy

 

Drs. Glenn King and Maggie Hardy at the Institute of Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Australia have discovered a small protein, aptly named orally active insecticidal peptide-1 (OAIP-1), in the venom of Australian tarantulas (Selenotypus plumipes) that can kill prey when ingested orally. According to the study, OAIP-1 is fast acting and more potent than commercial pyrethroid insecticides and is very effective at killing the agricultural pest, cotton bollworm. The authors suggest that OAIP-1 may therefore be useful as a bioinsecticide. The authors conclude that it may be possible to engineer plants to express this protein to create insect-resistant crops as is already done with other spider venoms for tobacco, cotton and poplar.

Sources:
Hardy MC, Daly NL, Mobli M, Morales RAV, King GF. Isolation of an Orally Active Insecticidal Toxin from the Venom of an Australian Tarantula. PLoS ONE 8(9): e73136, 2013. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073136

Phys.org

More like this

tags: researchblogging.org, Bombus impatiens, Bumblebees, pathogen spillover, epidemiology, pollinating insects, greenhouses Common Eastern Bumblebee, Bombus impatiens. This species is often relied upon to pollinate commercial food crops, such as tomatoes, that are often grown in agricultural…
A new study from researchers at the University of Sydney shows that golden orb-weaving spiders (Nephila plumipes) that live in the city are larger and produce more offspring as compared to country living. When they say the spiders are big, they mean really big. The females can reach up to 20-25mm (…
Genetically modified crops have received a frosty welcome in the UK, and more widely in Europe. Those opposed to such crops worry (among other things) that they could affect the flora around them by outcompeting them or by spreading their altered genes in a round of genetic pass-the-parcel. Now, a…
Image from: http://Phys.Org Not only do bees sting, but they also bite victims that are too small for stingers (ex: wax moth larva that invade the beehive and eat pollen) and paralyze them for up to nine minutes by secreting 2-heptanone into the wound. This paralysis gives the bees time to remove…