Monday, November 17, 2008
More than 800 million pounds of pesticides are used each year on crops. Government agencies announced joint proposals aimed at reducing the use of pesticides on food crops.
Experts say one way to reach this goal is to design crops that fight insects or diseases naturally. For example, scientists have developed a kind of squash that has natural defenses against a killer virus. They also have used generic engineering to develop corn that cannot be attacked by a common insect.
Some companies are developing harmless substitutes for pesticides. One example is a product called Enbirepel. It is made of garlic. The smell of the product reportedly keeps insects away without leaving harmful chemicals on plants. Other products contain hot peppers which are said to keep insects away from plants.