Mexican beetles, an effective way to control carrot grass, says BHU prof
Mexican beetles may effectively control carrot grass, the weed which causes allergy, eczema, redness of skin and asthma in humans as they eat this grass very fast, says Prof Bhupendra Kumar, Department of Zoology, BHU.
Led by Prof Kumar, a team of scientists, including research scholar Priya Patel, Arvind Kumar, and Priyanka Yadav, is working on how to control the natural growth of this grass by its natural enemy ‘Mexican beetles’, which work like biocontrol agent in this case.
Kumar says Mexican beetles were imported from Mexico in 1984 to control this grass as the weed which travelled from Mexico to India via the USA in the fifties. At present, this grass is found in abundance across India. It grows along the roads as well as on farms. As soon as anyone touches any part of the plant, the toxin Sesquiterpene lactones found in the entire plant causes allergy, asthma, redness of skin in humans. Also, it is not good for livestock and soil. It makes soil barren or infertile.
Prof Kumar says this beetle has a long diapause period of about six months, while the grass keeps growing throughout the year.
“We are working to reduce the diapause period of these Mexican beetles so that they can remain active throughout the year and keep consuming the grass,” says Prof Kumar.
“We are trying to find the molecular pathways, which is responsible for a longer period of diapause in the beetle. Our research is going in the right direction, and we are quite hopeful that we will be able to decrease the diapause period by targeting the physiological pathways in these beetles in near future,” says Prof Kumar. He adds that controlling this weed is the need of the hour as it is growing fast with global warming.
Mumbai: Environmentalists and concerned residents of Thane have raised alarm over the construction of 20 commercial bungalows in Yeoor village, which lies within the notified eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), where development activities are restricted. The bungalows, Hindustan Times has learnt, are being developed by Thane Municipal Corporation corporator Hanmant Jagdale, who was awarded a commencement certificate for the project in April last year. Activists, however, termed these constructions as illegal.
Senior Congress leader Harish Rawat on Thursday staged a nearly hour-long sit-in on the national highway in Haldwani to protest the condition of the road that he said was claiming lives of a number of people as the government remained a mute spectator. Rawat also promised to continue his protests over such issues in future too. Rawat has been aggressively campaigning for the bypolls for which the Congress has fielded Nirmala Gehtori as its candidate.
Thane A 64-year-old man was killed and three others suffered injuries after a speeding car collided with a cab ferrying two passengers near Manas petrol pump in Mankoli village in Bhiwandi on Wednesday. The deceased Iqaram has been identified as Iqaram Nishan Ahmad, 64, and the injured as Ashfaque Ishaque Shaikh, 35, Majid Mustaque Qureshi, 38 and Jitesh Joshi, 28, all residents of Bhiwandi.
Navi Mumbai: Following the arrest of a 25-year-old auto-rickshaw driver Jayant Suresh Kolkhekar on Tuesday night from Panvel for allegedly killing a 33-year-old woman Reshma Sachin Garude, the probe revealed that the accused had purchased a sim card in the name of the deceased to avoid getting caught. The phone, however, led the police to him. Kolkhekar used to ride the rickshaw, owned by the deceased, a mother of two girls.
The West Bengal cabinet on Thursday decided to table a bill in the state assembly to replace the governor with the chief minister as chancellor of all state-run universities, education minister Bratya Basu said, a move that is seen as a fallout of the long-running battle between chief minister Mamata Banerjee and governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. There has been no reaction from Raj Bhawan to the decision.