Organic crop spray repels insects with no side effects

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In Germany, a Technical University of Munich research team developed an alternative to traditional insecticides that not only kill pests, they also endanger bees and other beneficial insects, as well as affecting biodiversity in soils, lakes, rivers and seas.

“It’s not just about the bees, it’s about the survival of humanity,” says Professor Thomas Brück, who heads the Werner Siemens Chair of Synthetic Biotechnology at TU Munich. “Without the bees that pollinate a wide variety of plants, not only would our supermarket shelves be quite bare, but within a short time, it would no longer be possible to supply the world’s population with food.”

Brück and his team have now found an alternative to synthetically-produced insecticides: The insect repellent they have developed is biodegradable and ecologically harmless. Sprayed on plants, it works much like mosquito repellent used by bathers in the summer, spreading a smell that keeps away unwanted insects.