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Biobased Pest Management

Managing Crop Disease with Bacillus Cereus

Bacillus cereus is a biocontrol agent that was recently registered for use as a biopesticide on cotton and other B. cereus are under review as biocontrol agents for crop diseases. Most strains of produce a mammalian toxin associated with food poisoning. Using a genetic knockout strategy, Jo Handelsman at the University of Wisconsin has successfully removed the genes responsible for the toxin and tested its performance in the field.

As a result of this work, a safer bacterial strain for can be used. Since the only remaining barrier to registration of B. cereus strains is their production of this harmful toxin, this work will remove the final impediment to providing access to farmers to an effective biological agent for management of crop disease.


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