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Monday, August 17, 2009

Rosemary & Thyme Act As Eco-Friendly Pesticides


Many herbs like rosemary, thyme, clove and mint can act as natural killer weapons against pests. The industry is turning to these natural pesticides as the fruits and vegetables produced in natural ways are more in demand.
These herbs form a relatively new type of natural insecticides that have the potential to act as eco-friendly alternatives to synthetic chemical pesticides.
"We are exploring the potential use of natural pesticides based on plant essential oils - commonly used in foods and beverages as flavourings," said study presenter Murray Isman of the University of British Columbia (UBC).
These new pesticides, in general, are formed as mixtures of tiny amounts of two or more different herbs diluted in water. Some kill insects outright, while others repel them.
There are quite a few natural pesticides that are being used by farmers for protecting organic strawberry, spinach, and tomato crops against destructive aphids and mites.
"These products expand the limited arsenal of organic growers to combat pests. They're still only a small piece of the insecticide market, but they're growing and gaining momentum," he said.
The natural pesticides provide many advantages over the conventional pesticides. The natural "killer spices" do not require extensive regulatory approval and are readily available.
There is yet another advantage. Insects may not develop resistance to these pesticides as like the other pesticides. These are a safer option for farm workers also.
But they do have their own disadvantages. Since these essential oils evaporate quickly and degrade rapidly in sunlight, frequent application will be required.
Attempts to develop the natural pesticides that last longer and more potent are being made.
These findings have been presented at the American Chemical Society's 238th National Meeting.

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