Keeping woodlands in Wales and Ireland healthy


The new green revolution (31-07-2012)

Crop pests can wreck livelihoods and endanger lives, but the chemicals farmers use to control them cause problems in their own right. Could an insect-killing fungus be the answer?

Stuck fast to the oblivious insect, the spores start germinating. Sharp peg-like appendages secrete enzymes and corkscrew through the host's tough outer cuticle to reach the soft interior. Slender filaments infiltrate the insect's body, swelling, releasing toxins and eventually consuming its internal organs. Eventually mould spreads over its exterior, more spores forming and ripening until they're ready to infect the next generation.

It sounds like a plague from the pages of science fiction, but it's a natural fungus, and farmers are already using it against some of their worst insect foes.

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Using nature's weapons to battle current and future threats

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