The key to fighting the ravages of termites and other insect pests could lie in the ubiquitous glucose molecule, tweaked to weaken insect immune systems, say researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Formosan subterranean termites

Photo by Scott Bauer
The scientists have shown that the glucose relative, D-δ-gluconolactone (GDL), can disrupt the activity of a termite protein crucial for sensing and killing invading microbes, making the pests susceptible to pathogenic bacteria or fungi that routinely buffet them, they linkurl:report; in this week's issue of the __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences__. "When you have an immune system that is compromised, you have a variety of opportunistic infections that take over," linkurl:Ram Sasisekharan,; an MIT bioengineer who led the study, told __The Scientist__. "You give these microbes sort of a leg up to attacking more seriously." With termites causing $30 billion worth of damage to manmade structures and crops...

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