Glucosinolate Research-Natural Pest Control

In order to prevent future contamination of soils and groundwater there is an emphasis in agriculture to reduce the use of synthetic organic pesticides.

It is therefore necessary to devise alternative pest control strategies, especially for soil-borne organisms that cannot be controlled by other means. This is becoming increasingly important as pesticide use restrictions increase.

Many plants produce compounds called allelochemicals that directly or indirectly impact their biological environment. Glucosinolates are allelochemicals that occur throughout the agronomically important Brassicaceae family, a family that includes such plants as canola, mustard, broccoli, and kale.

Interest in glucosinolates has been generated because of the possibility of using plant tissues as a substitute for synthetic organic pesticides in soils. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that glucosinolates contained in Brassicaceae tissues produce a variety of allelochemicals that are effective pesticides.

Glucosinolate degradation products such as isothiocyanates have broad-spectrum activity on soil microorganisms. For example, methylisothiocyanate is used as a soil fumigant and is the active pesticidal agent produced from the degradation of synthetic dithiocarbamates (e.g., vapam) and diazines (e.g., dazomet).

Because isothiocyanates have pesticidal activities and are dominant products formed from glucosinolates in soil, the use of Brassica species and other glucosinolate-producing tissues to control soil-borne plant pests merits further attention.

For the last twelve years our research program has been focused on strategies to reduce synthetic pesticide use through the substitution of Brassicaceae cover crops and soil amendment of seed meals.

University of Idaho

LINK to research on Glucosinolate (alternative pest control strategies)

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