Tuesday, August 18, 2009

'Killer Spices' Provide Eco-friendly Pesticides For Organic Fruits And Veggies

Original Article at ScienceDaily
A new study from UBC about botanical pesticides. Great idea, but I'm not sure if these will be effective (enough) pesticides. The author notes that most of the essential oils are very volatile, and some cannot last longer than a couple hours.
This can create some problems:

- If researchers modify the oil structure or add other compounds to last longer, then "organic" farmers can't use them any longer.
- As well, will they be testing for food safety both before and after the modification? (Herbal remedies are not tested or regulated, and some can be extremely dangerous to your health)
- Will the oils alter the growth of the target plants at all? Some plants create the oils to inhibit growth of neighbouring plants as well as repelling insects.

I feel that this area would need a large amount of research before using, but also look at who is funding research (a botanical pesticide company)... I would be looking for similar research as well to be sure that they are not only publishing data that they like.

I do agree, however, with the concept. This is following the trend of looking to nature for ideas and concepts before starting from scratch (This is going to be this Friday's TED Talk), and using already-tested ideas.

Remember that everything that comes from nature is not necessarily better for you.

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