The Safest Alternative to Chemical Pesticides Has Been Right Under Our Noses
The devastation wrought by pesticides on the environment and human health cannot be overestimated. Is it possible for a non-toxic, natural substance to be an effective alternative to the harmful chemicals used to kill insects?
The Fungi Solution
In 2006, mycologist Paul Stamets was awarded a patent for a pesticide that is made from mushrooms. The scientist devised a way to grow fungi that attract pestilential insects, which results in the creatures’ death after they feed on the mushrooms that are lethal to their system. It is a safe solution for controlling more than 200,000 insects. The method doesn’t harm the health of the farmer or people who consume the crops, nor is it destructive to the environment.
How did the pesticide industry respond to the debut of the fungal pesticide? They said the patent represents “the most disruptive technology that we have ever witnessed.” Yet it is infinitely superior to the toxic pesticides in rampant use. As Disinformation pointed out, the entity affected by the “disruption” would be the chemical pesticide industry.
Effects of Chemical Pesticides
The fungal method of crop protection contrasts markedly with traditional pesticides that leave toxic residues behind. The toxicity has been linked to human health maladies, such as cancer, birth defects, and infertility, as well as has been responsible for a dramatic decline of the bee population. Aside from killing pestilential insects, chemical pesticides kill many of the beneficial ones that are natural predators of the pest variety. Furthermore, insects often become resistant to the pesticides, a problem that necessitates repeated and more voluminous spraying along with the use of stronger, more toxic chemicals.
Later Research on Fungal Pesticides
After the launch of Stamets’ product, other researchers showed an interest in studying the use of fungi for pesticides. One such case occurred in 2010, when a study at Swansea University at the U.K. discovered that Metarhizium anisopliae, a naturally occurring fungus, was an effective pesticide against a broad range of crops. The scientists achieved almost total control over the larvae of western flower thrips and vine weevils when the fungus was combined with nematodes. “The benefits are far reaching—not just for those with organic farms or nurseries but also for conventional growers, offering an effective, environmentally friendly alternative to chemicals,” said lead author Tariq Butt. He believes this fungal biological control agent could reduce the use of chemical pesticides while decreasing costs for farmers.
Aside from the UK study, yet more research on fungal pesticides has had positive results. An Australian government experiment in 2009 successfully used a fungal biopesticide to control lice on sheep. In addition, scientists at Utah State University studied a fungus that kills Mormon crickets by depositing spores inside the insects, a mechanism of action that eventually breaks the creatures’ exoskeletons.
While the methods differ in which fungal pesticides work, all of the products show great promise as substitutes for chemical pesticides. The impact of this field of research and development could be enormously significant.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.