Myths, models and mitigation of resistance to pesticides.
Resistance to pesticides in arthropod pests is a significant economic, ecological and public health problem. Although extensive research has been conducted on diverse aspects of pesticide resistance and we have learned a great deal during the past 50 years, to some degree the discussion about 'resistance management' has been based on 'myths'. One myth involves the belief that we can manage resistance. I will maintain that we can only attempt to mitigate resistance because resistance is a natural evolutionary response to environmental stresses. As such, resistance will remain an ongoing dilemma in pest management and we can only delay the onset of resistance to pesticides. 'Resistance management' models and tactics have been much discussed but have been tested and deployed in practical pest management programmes with only limited success. Yet the myth persists that better models will provide a 'solution' to the problem. The reality is that success in using mitigation models is limited because these models are applied to inappropriate situations in which the critical genetic, ecological, biological or logistic assumptions cannot be met. It is difficult to predict in advance which model is appropriate to a particular situation; if the model assumptions cannot be met, applying the model sometimes can increase the rate of resistance development rather than slow it down. Are there any solutions? I believe we already have one. Unfortunately, it is not a simple or easy one to deploy. It involves employing effective agronomic practices to develop and maintain a healthy crop, monitoring pest densities, evaluating economic injury levels so that pesticides are applied only when necessary, deploying and conserving biological control agents, using host-plant resistance, cultural controls of the pest, biorational pest controls, and genetic control methods. As a part of a truly multi-tactic strategy, it is crucial to evaluate the effect of pesticides on natural enemies in order to preserve them in the cropping system. Sometimes, pesticide-resistant natural enemies are effective components of this resistance mitigation programme. Another name for this resistance mitigation model is integrated pest management (IPM). This complex model was outlined in some detail nearly 40 years ago by V. M. Stern and colleagues. To deploy the IPM resistance mitigation model, we must admit that pest management and resistance mitigation programmes are not sustainable if based on a single-tactic strategy. Delaying resistance, whether to traditional pesticides or to transgenic plants containing toxin genes from Bacillus thuringiensis, will require that we develop multi-tactic pest management programmes that incorporate all appropriate pest management approaches. Because pesticides are limited resources, and their loss can result in significant social and economic costs, they should be reserved for situations where they are truly needed--as tools to subdue an unexpected pest population outbreak. Effective multi-tactic IPM programmes delay resistance (= mitigation) because the number and rates of pesticide applications will be reduced. (+info)
Ecological approaches and the development of "truly integrated" pest management.
Recent predictions of growth in human populations and food supply suggest that there will be a need to substantially increase food production in the near future. One possible approach to meeting this demand, at least in part, is the control of pests and diseases, which currently cause a 30-40% loss in available crop production. In recent years, strategies for controlling pests and diseases have tended to focus on short-term, single-technology interventions, particularly chemical pesticides. This model frequently applies even where so-called integrated pest management strategies are used because in reality, these often are dominated by single technologies (e.g., biocontrol, host plant resistance, or biopesticides) that are used as replacements for chemicals. Very little attention is given to the interaction or compatibility of the different technologies used. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that such approaches rarely yield satisfactory results and are unlikely to provide sustainable pest control solutions for the future. Drawing on two case histories, this paper demonstrates that by increasing our basic understanding of how individual pest control technologies act and interact, new opportunities for improving pest control can be revealed. This approach stresses the need to break away from the existing single-technology, pesticide-dominated paradigm and to adopt a more ecological approach built around a fundamental understanding of population biology at the local farm level and the true integration of renewable technologies such as host plant resistance and natural biological control, which are available to even the most resource-poor farmers. (+info)
Pesticide use in agriculture.
During the last three decades, the use of modern organic synthetic pesticides has increased about 40-fold. Total U.S. production, for domestic and expert use, in 1976 was about 1.4 million pounds. Crops receiving the most intensive application of various pesticides were cotton for insecticides, corn for herbicides, and fruits and vegetables for fungicides. Examination of use trends of pesticides indicates that the volume in pounds of herbicides used on crops is increasing, whereas the quantities of insecticides and fungicides remain stable. New chemical classes of compounds such as the synthetic pyrethroid insecticides are being introduced, but are not yet significant in terms of their share of the market. The increased usage of pesticides, together with knowledge of some of their adverse effects, has alerted the public to the need for regulation. To assist in the regulatory decision-making process, emphasis is being placed on benefit-cost analyses. Additional and improved biological inputs and methodologies are needed to provide accurate analyses. (+info)
Pheromone-triggered orientation flight of male moths can be disrupted by trifluoromethyl ketones.
In a wind tunnel trifluoromethyl ketones (TFMKs) have been found to disrupt the orientation flight of male moths to pheromone sources (virgin females or synthetic pheromone). This is demonstrated by comparison of the flight parameters of the Egyptian armyworm Spodoptera littoralis and the Mediterranean corn borer Sesamia nonagrioides, which had been topically treated with TFMKs, with those calculated for untreated insects. Inhibition occurred in all types of behavior and that of the source contact has been quantified and found to be dose-dependent. The same effect has also been noticed in Mediterranean corn borer males flying to an attraction source consisting of mixtures of (Z)-11-hexadecenyl trifluoromethyl ketone (8), a closely related analogue of the major component of the pheromone, and the natural pheromone blend. The most active TFMKs are those closest in structure to the natural pheromone, along with those chemicals which easily hydrate in solution, such as the beta-thiosubstituted derivatives. Along with the previously reported reduction of catches in the field, our results suggest the possible application of these chemicals in future new pest control strategies. (+info)
Asthma and the home environment of low-income urban children: preliminary findings from the Seattle-King County healthy homes project.
OBJECTIVES: Childhood asthma is a growing public health concern in low-income urban communities. Indoor exposure to asthma triggers has emerged as an important cause of asthma exacerbations. We describe indoor environmental conditions related to asthma triggers among a low-income urban population in Seattle/King County, Washington, as well as caregiver knowledge and resources related to control of these triggers. METHODS: Data are obtained from in-person, structured, closed-end interviews with the caretakers of children aged 4-12 years with persistent asthma living in households with incomes less than 200% of poverty. Additional information is collected during a home inspection. The children and their caregivers are participants in the ongoing Seattle-King County Healthy Homes Project, a randomized controlled trial of an intervention to empower low-income families to reduce exposure to indoor asthma triggers. We report findings on the conditions of the homes prior to this intervention among the first 112 enrolled households. RESULTS: A smoker was present in 37.5% of homes. Mold was visible in 26.8% of homes, water damage was present in 18.6% of homes, and damp conditions occurred in 64.8% of households, while 39.6% of caregivers were aware that excessive moisture can increase exposures to allergens. Dust-trapping reservoirs were common; 76.8% of children's bedrooms had carpeting. Cockroach infestation in the past 3 months was reported by 23.4% of caregivers, while 57.1% were unaware of the association of roaches and asthma. Only 19.8% of the children had allergy-control mattress covers. CONCLUSIONS: Many low-income urban children with asthma in King County live in indoor environments that place them at substantial risk of ongoing exposure to asthma triggers. Substandard housing and lack of resources often underlie these exposures. Initiatives involving health educators, outreach workers, medical providers, health care insurers, housing agencies, and elected officials are needed to reduce these exposures. (+info)
Neurologic function among termiticide applicators exposed to chlorpyrifos.
Chlorpyrifos is a moderately toxic organophosphate pesticide. Houses and lawns in the United States receive a total of approximately 20 million annual chlorpyrifos treatments, and 82% of U.S. adults have detectable levels of a chlorpyrifos metabolite (3,5, 6-trichloro-2-pyridinol; TCP) in the urine. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that there are 5,000 yearly reported cases of accidental chlorpyrifos poisoning, and approximately one-fourth of these cases exhibit symptoms. Organophosphates affect the nervous system, but there are few epidemiologic data on chlorpyrifos neurotoxicity. We studied neurologic function in 191 current and former termiticide applicators who had an average of 2.4 years applying chlorpyrifos and 2.5 years applying other pesticides, and we compared them to 189 nonexposed controls. The average urinary TCP level for 65 recently exposed applicators was 629.5 microg/L, as compared to 4.5 microg/L for the general U.S. population. The exposed group did not differ significantly from the nonexposed group for any test in the clinical examination. Few significant differences were found in nerve conduction velocity, arm/hand tremor, vibrotactile sensitivity, vision, smell, visual/motor skills, or neurobehavioral skills. The exposed group did not perform as well as the nonexposed group in pegboard turning tests and some postural sway tests. The exposed subjects also reported significantly more symptoms, including memory problems, emotional states, fatigue, and loss of muscle strength; our more quantitative tests may not have been adequate to detect these symptoms. Eight men who reported past chlorpyrifos poisoning had a pattern of low performance on a number of tests, which is consistent with prior reports of chronic effects of organophosphate poisoning. Overall, the lack of exposure effects on the clinical examination was reassuring. The findings for self-reported symptoms raise some concern, as does the finding of low performance for those reporting prior poisoning. Although this was a relatively large study based on a well-defined target population, the workers we studied may not be representative of all exposed workers, and caution should be exercised in generalizing our results. (+info)
Activity of wheat alpha-amylase inhibitors towards bruchid alpha-amylases and structural explanation of observed specificities.
Plant alpha-amylase inhibitors show great potential as tools to engineer resistance of crop plants against pests. Their possible use is, however, complicated by observed variations in specificity of enzyme inhibition, even within closely related families of inhibitors. Five alpha-amylase inhibitors of the structural 0.19 family were isolated from wheat kernels, and assayed against three insect alpha-amylases and porcine pancreatic alpha-amylase, revealing several intriguing differences in inhibition profiles, even between proteins sharing sequence identity of up to 98%. Inhibition of the enzyme from a commercially important pest, the bean weevil Acanthoscelides obtectus, is observed for the first time. Using the crystal structure of an insect alpha-amylase in complex with a structurally related inhibitor, models were constructed and refined of insect and human alpha-amylases bound to 0.19 inhibitor. Four key questions posed by the differences in biochemical behaviour between the five inhibitors were successfully explained using these models. Residue size and charge, loop lengths, and the conformational effects of a Cys to Pro mutation, were among the factors responsible for observed differences in specificity. The improved structural understanding of the bases for the 0.19 structural family inhibitor specificity reported here may prove useful in the future for the rational design of inhibitors possessing altered inhibition characteristics. (+info)
Preliminary parasitological results of a pilot mollusciciding campaign to control transmission of Schistosoma mansoni in St Lucia.
A mollusciciding campaign was begun in Cul-de-Sac Valley, St Lucia, at the end of 1970, following several years of epidemiological studies in which transmission of Schistosoma mansoni was found to be high in settlements on the valley floor but low in hillside settlements. Postcontrol (1971-73) findings in children, when compared with precontrol data and with data from an adjacent valley having a similar transmission pattern, show significant reductions in prevalence, incidence, and intensity of infection. (+info)