Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Release Biocontrol for Waterhyacinth

May 21, 2010

Biological control of waterhyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) using Megamelus scutellaris was studied by U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricltural Research Service entomologists based in Florida and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Waterhyacinth which has become a menace in bodies of water was found to be the food of nymphs and adults of the small plant hopper. This discovery  could now replace the use of herbicide in the control of the water weeds.

The team of scientists believe that the M. scutellaris could integrate better with existing herbicide program because of its mobility, which should improve its survival in highly managed systems. Further studies revealed that the plant hopper is highly host-specific and does not pose a threat to native or economically important species.

For details, see the story at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2010/100518.htm