Scientists with the USDA’s agricultural Research Service have discovered a bacterium that appears to be highly effective against a variety of voracious plant pests, including corn rootworm species.

The researchers theorize that Chromobacterium suttsuga produces several toxins that wipe out these unwanted and economically significant troublemakers. The environmentally-stable bacteria can eventually be combined with chemical compounds and applied to soil, plants or seeds for pest control. The scientists are awaiting a patent for this technology, as well as the results of additional field and laboratory tests.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Phyllis Martin, ars microbiologist, at: pmartin@asrr.arsusda.gov