Home Nature Poisonous pesticides could be replaced by hydrogel with worms

Poisonous pesticides could be replaced by hydrogel with worms

by Joel Brown

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Entomopathogenic nematodes are noted to lay eggs in the bodies of insects, and when they do, they release a toxin that quickly kills their hosts, which are often crop-eating pests. Farmers even sometimes add worms to the soil on purpose to control the number of such insects. When nematodes reach the surface, however, they are quickly killed by contact with ultraviolet light.

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This is where a nematode-protecting gel developed by scientists at the University of Neuch√Ętel in Switzerland has a role to play. In the course of their research, experts have created a special hydrogel, which consists of live nematodes, placed in a gelatin matrix of non-toxic biodegradable carboxymethylcellulose.

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