Scourge of Dracula seeks pesticide status
Scientists have created an agricultural pesticide made from garlic juice concentrate which kills the worms that destroy potato and cabbage crops.
Last September, biologists from the University of Newcastle revealed that garlic juice could kill garden slugs and snails. Now, the same principle is being applied to the tiny worms, called potato cyst nematodes, that destroy £70m of Britain's 37,000 hectares of potato crop annually.
But Ecospray, a company from Thetford in Norfolk which is trying to market the product, is struggling to commercialise the garlic extract for use as a pesticide. Although garlic is a commercial crop, it cannot be certified for use as a pesticide without undergoing tests.
These tests have taken more than four years, and David Sadler-Bridge, the managing director of Ecospray, does not know when they will finish.
"We're hoping to get approval from the Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD), which does the safety testing, very shortly," he said. "But it also has to be tested by the Health and Safety Executive as a biocide, because it can control red mite which attacks poultry."
Despite garlic's longstanding use in mosquito and other repellents, the PSD has declined to approve its use as a pesticide.
The garlic juice concentrate, which the company calls Nemguard, is dried to form granules and acts against the worms that attack potatoes and crops, including carrots and parsnips.
Experts are divided on how garlic works against the nematodes. One idea is that it boosts the plants' defence systems. Others say some of the chemicals contained in garlic block chemical receptors essential to the nematodes' functioning.
The use of garlic to kill pests is well known and has been co-planted as an anti-pest control for hundreds of years.
New York snowstorm: What is 'lake-effect' snow and how does it form?
Global warming ‘will make our winters colder’
End fossil fuels by 2100 - the dramatic 'final warning' over climate change
Watch amazing footage of London captured by an eagle with head-mounted camera
World’s largest snake species has 'virgin birth'
- 1 Universities aren't working us hard enough, say undergraduates
- 2 Lego letter from the 1970s still offers a powerful message to parents 40 years later
- 3 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...