Tue, Feb 28, 2017 | updated 11:07 PM IST

Weeds can be beneficial for crops: Study

Updated: Nov 12, 2016 16:22 IST

Washington D.C [USA], Nov. 12 (ANI): Weeds will no longer be harmful for crops, suggests a study.

Farmers looking to reduce reliance on pesticides, herbicides and other pest management tools may want to heed the advice of Cornell agricultural scientists: Let nature be nature - to a degree.

"Managing crop pests without fully understanding the impacts of tactics - related to resistance and nontarget plants or insects - costs producers money," said Antonio DiTommasow.

"We are taking a renewed look at a holistic, sustainable integrated pest management (IPM) approach," DiTommaso said.

In corn production, for example, maintaining a few villainous milkweed plants in the middle of a cornfield may help minimize crop loss from the destructive European corn borer. The milkweed plants can harbor aphids (destructive sap-sucking flies) that produce a nectar food source for beneficial parasitic wasps Trichogramma. The wasps, in turn, lay eggs inside the eggs of the European corn borer, killing the corn borer eggs - reducing damage to the crop.

"Production management rarely considers the benefits of weeds in agricultural ecosystems," said DiTommaso. "Let's look at the big picture. If we open our eyes - even if it's a weed growing in the cornfield - we show it could be beneficial. Integrating weed benefits will become increasingly important, as pest management is likely to move from total reliance on herbicides and transgenic crop traits for control, because of increasing resistance of weeds to these products."

One additional side benefit for having a few milkweed plants in a field of corn is that it serves as a breeding place and food source for monarch butterflies. As of late, monarch numbers are down, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is evaluating a petition to have them protected under the Endangered Species Act.

While some growers elect not to use engineered crops, producers may see a return to IPM methods from two decades ago, as resistance could easily occur when relying on a single tactic.

With increasing no-till production, producers will inevitably see rebounds in perennial weeds - such as milkweed, the researchers said. Thus, some growers may be willing to tolerate a low milkweed population in favor of providing livable plant space for monarchs.

"Every organism in an agricultural system plays multiple roles," said John Losey, professor of entomology. "If management decisions are based solely on the negative aspects, yield and profit can be lost in the short term and broader problems can arise in the longer term."

Integration of the weed costs and advantages will become important.

"The benefits of weeds have been neglected. They're often seen as undesirable, unwanted. We're now beginning to quantify their benefits," said Kristine M. Averill.

"It's very important to recognize the benefits of all the species within the crop field - that includes both the crops and the weeds - not to mention cover crops. Weeds can offer ecosystem services, such as soil erosion protection and pollination services for the benefit of insects," Averill said. "They can be part of a restorative cycle."

Joining DiTommaso, Averill and Losey on the study were Michael Hoffmann, professor of entomology; and Jeffrey R. Fuchsberg, director of intellectual property at the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation.

The study has been published in the Weed Science journal. (ANI)

New clues found for nuclear waste cleanup

Updated: Feb 24, 2017 09:35 IST

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 24 (ANI): According to a study, the research being done on the chemistry of technetium-99 has boosted the understanding of the challenging nuclear waste and can lead to better cleanup methods.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [US], Feb. 24 (ANI): US researchers have suggested that specially trained dogs can be used to find wide-ranging species that are often threatened, sepecially cheetah in a region of Western Zambia.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 23(ANI): NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

Full Story >>

Noida (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Feb.22 (ANI): Germany's Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) Foundation has handed over equipment worth € 20, 000 to Amity University for accelerating research initiatives.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb 21 (ANI): The world's first battery to use only hydronium ions as the charge carrier has been been developed by scientists.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 21 (ANI): According to a new study, Carnegie's Stephen Elardo and Anat Shahar shows that interactions between iron and nickel under the extreme pressures and temperatures similar to a planetary interior can help scientists understand the period in our Solar System's youth when planets were forming and their cores were created.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): To boost breeding of endangered poultry breeds, Briton researchers have come up with gene-editing techniques for the rare breeds to use them as surrogates that cannot produce their own chicks.

Full Story >>

Meet 'Bernardbowen'- the new minor planet

Updated: Feb 18, 2017 07:00 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): In a major development, a team of scientists have officially named a minor planet as 'Bernardbowen' that sits in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Full Story >>

New York [USA], Feb. 17 (ANI): NASA has called on the world to help it in the search for the new ninth planet, as anyone from a kindergartener to a 95-year-old, can participate in their new project to find the not-yet-discovered celestial body.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 9 (ANI): To cut down the number of traffic fatalities, drive less!

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 8 (ANI): According to an international team of astronomers led by researchers from University Of Cambridge, the Magellanic Clouds, the two largest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, appear to be connected by a bridge stretching across 43,000 light years.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 25 (ANI): A team of researchers have discovered prehistoric wolf-sized otter fossils with a large head and a powerful jaw, weighing around 100 pounds, in China's Yunnan province.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 25 (ANI): A study finds that early identification of hearing loss in newborn due to a disease or physical abnormality by birth may help them in better language outcomes as they grow.

Full Story >>

Chennai [India], Jan.14 (ANI-Businesswire India): While "Jallikattu" seems to be the trending topic of discussion in Tamil Nadu at the moment, a silent revolution envisioned by youth icon and late Former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has quietly gained momentum. Ignite-India is a nation-wide innovation platform for student innovators and young entrepreneurs in high schools and colleges. Founded by International swimmer Agnishwar Jayaprakash in 2014, the organization has designed & hosted 96 Regional Innovation Conferences and 3 National Innovation Conferences across 36 cities in India where students competed to showcased their innovative creations. These innovations were judged based on the practicality, creativity & sustainability by technical experts from diverse fields.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Jan. 13 (ANI): New computer simulations have shown that tiny droplets of sulphuric acid resulted in long-lasting cooling, which was a likely contributor to the death of land-living dinosaurs.

Full Story >>

New human organ in digestive system discovered

Updated: Jan 05, 2017 06:27 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan. 5 (ANI): Scientists have discovered what they are calling a new human organ that exists in the digestive system.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 (ANI): Songbirds divorce, pack up and leave and miss their best chances for successful reproduction, courtesy suburban development.

Full Story >>

How do conch shells have such huge variety?

Updated: Jan 04, 2017 05:52 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 (ANI): Conch shells and its varied shapes and size have always been something that has captivated the eyes of collectors.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 31 (ANI): A new study finds that despite English being considered the common language of global science, over 30 percent of new scientific reports are published other languages due to which many major findings have been overlooked.

Full Story >>