African Cattle Protected by Natural Pesticide
by healthypages on 14/11/2011 - 12:42 pm |
A perennial plant has revealed itself as a solution to small cattle farmers in Africa. In order to protect their cattle from mites, flies and ticks that can spread blood parasites from their bites, farmers need to dip their cattle in a pesticide regularly. Otherwise their animals may suffer from infections and irritating wounds.
For the larger farmers this is fine, but for the smaller farmers this is too expensive a solution. For that reason researchers from the University of Greenwich led by Professor of Plant Chemistry, Phil Stevenson and Ecologist Dr Steven Belmain, looked into the nature of Lippia javanica which is a perennial used by farmers to produce a pesticide. By making an extract by pulping and soaking the leaves in water, the team tested a variety of concentrations to find the best one that would protect the cattle.
“When used at the correct dosage, Lippia javanica proved to be almost as effective as the industrial pesticides used for tick control,” said Professor Phil Stevenson.
As Lippia is a common plant on the African plains, the farmers can easily reap it and prepare the solution ready for when they need the pesticide which saves them from buying the expensive synthetic pesticide. The plant can also be easily grown from seeds too.
The project was co funded by the EU's African Dryland Alliance for Pesticidal Plant Technologies (ADAPPT) along with the Royal Botanic Gardens and eight African countries' universities, ministries, non-governmental organisations and agricultural institutes. The aim is to find out which locally available plants that don't require much preparation, can be used instead of synthetic pesticides.