Recombinant DNA Biodegradable Pesticide
Mycogen Corp. has begun the first large-scale field trials in the U.S. of a pesticide developed through recombinant DNA techniques. The pesticide, called MVP, is a protein produced by a strain of the Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) bacterium. The San Diego firm inserts the gene that produces the B.t. toxin into another bacterium called Pseudomonas fluorescens. Then the new bacteria are killed, and a "biocapsule" forms around the toxin, which is fatal to leaf-eating insects like caterpillars. With initial MVP spraying in Florida and Texas, Mycogen hopes to extend trials to a total of 17 states. Since 1988, Mycogen has been selling its first bioinsecticide, M-One, also based on a B.t. strain, to combat the Colorado potato beetle and other pests. Both biopesticides are biodegradable and have no effects on mammals, Mycogen researchers say. They add that because the effects of these poisons are so complex, crop...

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