Liverpool Varsity scientists to use scent to control destructive rodent behaviour

   Nov 8, 5:30 pm

Liverpool (UK), Nov.8 (ANI): Research on the scent signals of mice and rats, by a team at the University of Liverpool and Rothamsted Research, will help inform future rodent-control strategies aimed at reducing the damage they cause to food resources around the world.

The 4.7 million pound research programme has received funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in the form of a strategic Longer and Larger award (sLoLa).

These provide internationally-leading research teams with the resources to conduct multidisciplinary research to address major global challenges. Rodents are a serious threat to global food security.

Research suggests that even a five percent reduction in the damage that rodents cause to cereal harvests could help feed one third of all undernourished people worldwide.

Rodents also spread many livestock and human diseases. The team is investigating the scent signal mechanisms that rodents use to navigate around their habitat, communicate with each other, and reproduce. Scientists aim to use these signals to monitor and manipulate rodent behaviour to contribute to new approaches for better control of the destructive nature of rats and mice.

Current rodent control strategies are based on poisons delivered in food or water baits, but there is increasing concern that these chemicals persist in the environment and have negative impacts on non-target species. This new study will reduce the problems with current strategies by providing more efficient ways of targeting rodents, whilst improving the humaneness of control methods.

Professor Jane Hurst, from the University's Institute of Integrative Biology, said: "Rodents cause problems in countries all over the world due to the food they destroy, the disease they spread to livestock and humans, and the damage they cause to the built and rural environment. Rats and mice reproduce very rapidly and prove difficult to track, particularly as they learn quickly how to evade current control strategies."

"Our research on rodent behaviour and communication has helped us to understand the complexity of mammalian scents and their meaning, and the role of learning in modifying behavioural responses. Several types of scent signals will be key to this work, including those involved in sexual attraction and predator avoidance."

"We will be working closely with a wide range of stakeholders from pest control, environmental health, animal welfare and food industries to ensure that we maintain a practical focus and establish clear pathways for subsequent deployment of new strategies." (ANI)

Meet the top 10 new species for 2016 May 24, 9:50 am
Washington D.C, May 24 (ANI): A species on humans' family tree, hominin, and an ape nicknamed "Laia" that might provide clues to the origin of humans are among the top 10 new species of 2016.
Full Story
Soon, `tricorder-like` wearable device to monitor body signals May 24, 8:19 am
Washington D.C, May 24 (ANI): A team of researchers has brought a very distinct section pertaining to Iron Man's Jarvis closer to reality by developing the first wearable flexible monitoring system that could completely scan the biochemical reactions and electrical signals running inside one's body.
Full Story
Soon, an app that whets kids' appetites for eco-friendly meals May 23, 1:16 pm
Washington D.C, May 23 (ANI): What if there was an application that could show your kids how their dietary choices affect the planet? A new educational software application under development at the University of Illinois hopes to do so by introducing them to climate change.
Full Story
Ocean's 'canaries' highlight threat to world's ecosystems May 22, 3:01 pm
Washington D.C, May 22 (ANI): A new study has shown that fifty-nine finfish species have 'disappeared' from fishermen's catches in the world's most species rich and vulnerable marine region, new research has shown.
Full Story
Comments