Minty wheat smells danger for aphids

By 4. April 2012Blog

Researchers from Rothamsted Research, UK have been given permission by the Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to grow a GM variety of wheat they have developed that contains an aphid alarm pheromone. (E)-β-farnesene is produced by dying aphids to warn other aphids away. It is also produced by some plants such as mint, hops and wild potato and the type introduced into this wheat is similar to the version found in peppermint.

The team decided to use GM after other methods such as synthetic dispersers and essential oils did not provide effective delivery systems. Currently, plants are sprayed with pesticides that can also harm beneficial insect species and there is the possibility of the pests developing resistance.
But for those of you who are worried the wheat will leave a strange taste in your mouth fear not. Prof Maurice Moloney, the director of Rothamsted Research, has stated the wheat does not taste minty.

Read the full story from the Rothamsted Research website.