Kerala institute to launch bio-pesticide derived from cassava leaves

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 15 (IANS) A bio-pesticide developed by the Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI) from cassava leaves would be officially launched here on Tuesday.

A team of researchers led by C.A. Jayaprakash, principal scientist and head of crop protection division of CTCRI, segregated the insecticidal compounds from bio-waste that subsequently helped in the formulation of the bio-pesticide.

Jayaprakash said that bio-pesticide ‘Nanma’ was useful against a spectrum of insect pests, like pseudo stem weevil (Odoiporuslongicollis) and rhizome weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus) in banana.

“Cassava leaf is a storehouse of protein and other nutrients; nevertheless, its toxic principles (cyanoglucosides) prevent its commercial exploitation as food, feed or allied products. Our team succeeded in separating the insecticidal principles from this bio-waste,” said Jayaprakash.

This new bio-pesticide is equally effective in killing the stem borer pests of other tree and fruit crops, including red palm weevil (Rhynchophorusferrugineus) that attacks coconut and several other palm trees.

The bio-pesticide has already been effectively put to use in three districts of Kerala.

The team has designed a pilot plant to scale up production of bioactive principles from cassava, with technical support of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre here. The machine has since been installed at CTCRI.

CTCRI has also designed a new applicator (stem injection syringe) for banana plants to control pseudo stem weevil. A dose of 10 to 15 ml has to be injected 5 cm below the infested region (the region where the exudates come due to infestation by weevil).

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