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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Use Environmental DNA Approach for Agri Pest Surveillance

August 29, 2018

Scientists borrowed techniques from aquatic scientists to help stop the invasion of brown marmorated stinkbug, which infests apples, peaches, tomatoes, and other crops in North America. In a study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, it was reported that the scientists recovered traces of the pest's DNA in the water used by farmers to rinse their produce. This sampling of the DNA revealed the bug's cryptic presence on farms even before conventional insect traps could detect.

Rafael Valentin, agricultural scientist at Rutgers University and lead author of the study, said that the key to stopping the bug's menace is early detection. They got the solution from the farmers' own chain of operations. The researchers simply got rinse water samples from the farmers and detected the DNA of the bugs right before they got them in the traps. According to the researchers, the new method could revolutionize agricultural pest surveillance.

Read the original article from Scientific American.