Research on a Green Muscle, a mushroom, to wipe out locusts

Published: Friday 15 December 2006

The un Food and Agriculture Organization and the Mauritania Locust Centre are now busy testing a clean biological agent to wipe out locusts: a deadly threat in Africa.

The active material of the product, called Green Muscle, is a mushroom found in Niger in 1989. The mushroom method works slowly, taking between three days and three weeks, according to the intensity of the doses administered. The spore of the mushroom fall on locusts, germinate on their skin, the germinate tube penetrates into the interior and then start invading all tissues of the pest, claim the researchers. Efficacy of the method has been proved in laboratory, showing 90 per cent mortality rate.

But scientists are worried to see its adaptation to local climatic conditions: mushrooms do not develop in high temperature and react very slow in a low temperature. Though Green Muscle was ready since 2005, scientists were not getting enough locusts in one place at the same time to conduct the test, until the invasion in Mauritania.

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