Biotechnology: Pest Management

Authored by: Maurizio G. Paoletti

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-EEM-120009903

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Abstract

Disease and insect pest resistance to various pests has been slowly bred into crops for the past 13,000 years; current techniques in biotechnology now offer opportunities to further and more rapidly improve the non-chemical control of disease and insect pests of crops. However, relying on a single factor, like the Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) toxin that has been inserted into corn, cotton, and a few other crops for insect control, leads to various environmental problems, including insect resistance, and a serious threat to beneficial biological control insects and endangered species. A major environmental and economic cost associated with genetic engineering applications in agriculture relates to the use of herbicide-resistant crops (HRCs). In general, HRC technology results in increased herbicide use, pollution of the environment, and weed control costs for farmers that may be twofold greater than standard weed control costs. Therefore, pest control with both pesticides and genetic engineering methods can be improved for effective, safe, and economical pest control.

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