Sterilizing Flies in Low Oxygen Environments May Save Farmers Money in the Long Run
Published February 26th, 2014
GAINESVILLE- A breakthrough in the battle against bugs comes as good news to North Central Florida farmers.
The invasive Mediterranean Fruit Fly may have caused five- to- eight billion dollars' worth of extended crop damage.
Scientists have been administering radiation treatments to the flies for 30 years now to try and sterilize them and any of their offspring.
The radiation process makes the male flies weaker and less desirable to female flies.
UF researchers have found that sterilizing flies in a low oxygen environment means they will still mate but produce no offspring.
UF Assistant Professor of Entomology and Nematology, Dr. Daniel Hahn explains, "We like to joke in the lab, that these are indeed the George Clooney of files, these are actually flies that get proportionately sexier as they get older. We found that not only do these males that have higher antioxidant levels live longer and their health span, their performance range extends much further into old age."
Florida spends roughly six million dollars a year using the sterile insect technique.
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