talking biotech

Podcast: GMO insect-resistant cowpea helps Africa combat destructive pests without chemicals

Kevin Folta: University of Florida plant geneticist Kevin Folta launched Talking Biotech in 2015.    More details
Francis Onyekachi, Program Manager for the West African Maruca Resistant Cowpea Project

Cowpea is a critical crop in Western Africa. It is consumed by millions of people daily and provides important nitrogen fixation on the farm. But cowpea cultivation is threatened by Maruca vitrata, a caterpillar that feasts on the beans within the cowpea pod. Scientists in Nigeria have implemented a strategy using the Bt protein to control this pest.

On this episode of Talking Biotech, University of Florida graduate student Modesta Abugu and plant scientist Kevin Folta interview Francis Onyekachi, program manager for the West African Maruca Resistant Cowpea Project. Onyekachi highlights how Bt technology helps farmers safeguard their yields, and how scientists plan to ensure the GMO crop’s continued efficacy.

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Kevin M. Folta is a professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. Follow professor Folta on Twitter @kevinfolta and email your questions to [email protected]. Co-host Modesta Abugu is a Nigerian native and University of Florida graduate student. Follow her on Twitter @modestannedi

The Talking Biotech podcast, produced by Kevin Folta, is available for listening or subscription:


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