Biopesticides: Creating a mosquito-fighting bacteria wasn’t easy—or fast

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Johner Bildbyra AB
[A]fter decades of international scientific effort, a new mosquito biopesticide (a pesticide that uses natural bacteria) has been approved. And it only took a year and a half to get a sign-off.

This technology is MosquitoMate and it targets mosquito species which spread, among other things, the Zika virus. Males of the species do not bite people, so they are perfectly safe from even the wackiest Frankenmosquito concerns about imbuing humans with science. The new approved biopesticide is males infected with a strain of the Wolbachia bacterium (naturally occurring and common in most insect species), when they mate with females the offspring do not survive. Most importantly, Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes can’t carry the dengue virus.

One microbe stops the other. It’s brilliant.

The company, MosquitoMate, Inc. was not alone in pursuing this technology. In 2012, NPR wrote about Australian Scott O’Neill, who had spent 20 years trying to develop it for commercial use. Mosquitoes won’t just get the bacteria, the team had to inject it into the embryos manually. Then they had to wait a week to see if it took. Sometimes 18,000 embryos had no successful uptake.

The developers from the University of Kentucky are to be applauded for seeing this through. Science is hard. Navigating regulatory approval is even harder.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Why It Took Over 20 Years To Get Bacteria To Fight Mosquitos – And Then Get EPA Approval

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