Developing varieties resistant to insect pest and diseases: An Eco-friendly Approach for Pest Management and Environment Protection uri icon

abstract

  • Large scale application of chemical pesticides to reduce the crop losses caused by insect pests and diseases, valued at over US$250 billion annually, has not only led to serious environmental hazards, but has also resulted in development of resistance to pesticides in pest populations. It is in this context that crop varieties capable of resisting pest damage will play a vital role in reducing crop losses and protecting the environment. Host plant resistance (HPR), is an economical and environment-friendly method of pest control. Development of crop varieties resistant to insect pests and diseases has been the major research thrust at ICRISAT for sustainable crop production. The most attractive feature of HPR is that it is the simplest seed-based technology for which farmers do not need any extra skill for application, and require no additional cash investment. Considerable progress has been made by multidisciplinary teams of scientists at ICRISAT in developing crop cultivars with resistance to the major pests of our five mandate crops (sorghum, pearl millet, groundnut, chickpea, and pigeonpea) that are largely grown under rainfed conditions. Using the conventional and molecular tools, resistance genes to major diseases and insect pests have been mapped, and some of these resistance genes have been, and are being transferred into agronomically elite and high-yielding varieties. Genes from the wild relatives of crops, and novel genes, such as those from Bacillus thuringiensis are also being introgressed into different crops to make ?plant resistance? an effective weapon in pest management. Development and deployment of pest-resistant varieties will not only cause a major reduction in pesticide use and slowdown the rate of development of resistance to pesticides, but would also lead to increased activity of beneficial microorganisms, reduced pesticide residues in food and food products, and a much safer environment to live

publication date

  • 2006