Mexican scientists create eco-friendly insecticide to save corn
The insecticide is madre from neem seeds - Photo: Mario Arturo Martínez/EL UNIVERSAL

Mexican scientists create eco-friendly insecticide to save corn

07/01/2020
15:58
Karla Rodríguez
Mexico City
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The neem-based insecticide allows rural families who live from grain production to efficiently store corn

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A group of researchers from the Postgraduate College (Colpos) generated, from a neem's seed, an alternative and ecologic insecticide that allows rural families who live from the production of grains, to store and conserve corn.

In the facilities of Colpos in Córdoba, Veracruz, the experts coordinated by researcher Ángel Lagunares Tejeda developed the studies on the adaptation of the crops and created technological packages.

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During their research, the group found the neem portion, abrasive powder and a hygroscopic powder and lime that are used to significantly reduce the damages caused by weevil in stored corn, which allowed them to patent the insecticide at the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property.

The experts calculate that in the country, over two million corn farmers, mainly in southern and southeastern Mexico, grow products in bad and poor soils and harvest less than a ton per hectare; in addition, this grain, produced in subsistence agriculture, is their main food.

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This insecticide will also benefit families who store an average of 150 kg of corn which can be infected by weevil from the fourth month after its harvest, so they have to buy more corn at a higher cost and without the guarantee of it not getting infected again; the use of chemical insecticides is ineffective due to the high costs and the health risks it involves.

To use the insecticide, a kilogram of Granim, as it is called, must be added per every 100 kg of corn. Corn must then be put in sacks and it can be eaten right away since it only needs to be washed with water.

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They added that Granim does not stick to corn which is an important advantage against conventional insecticides that make it impossible for the grain to be consumed immediately because of the residues it has despite being washed.

The way in which Granim works is simple, they explained: when weevils walk on the grains they get impregnated with the abrasive powder which damages their body cuticle, making them lose humidity, which is absorbed by the hygroscopic powder that has a sponge effect, while neem affects the insects’ normal physiological processes, killing them.

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