RNA, good for vaccines, can also be used as a pesticide

Bioresources / May 19, 2021

© TheEconomist | Anand Varma

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is currently mainly known for its role in Covid-19 vaccines, but RNAi can also have important non-medical uses, namely as a precisely targeted, environmentally friendly pesticide. In its article, the British magazine "The Economist" reports, among other aspects, on the development of methods for the application of RNA pesticides by the company GreenLight Biosciences, with which the Fraunhofer IME is collaborating.

GreenLight is developing methods to control pests such as the cutworm, the Colorado potato beetle, the diamondback moth caterpillar and varroa mites. In the case of varroa mites, the company conducted trials in which RNA was mixed into sugar water and then fed to the bees. By producing RNA at low cost, more RNA can be fed to the mites, giving GreenLight an advantage over other companies.

Head of Fraunhofer IME in Giessen Andreas Vilcinskas said the German government supported the development of RNA-based pesticides.