Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Eggplant that is Feeding the Hungry

This week's Talking Biotech Podcast is a beautiful story.  The eggplant (brinjal, aubergine) is an important food staple in Asia.  However, in places like India and Bangladesh it requires large amounts of old-school pesticides to grow, as pest pressure can destroy 100% of a crop. 

Scientists have introduced the Bt Protein into eggplants and have greatly mitigated insect pressures from burrowing insects. It does not solve all insect problems (bt is quite selective) but it has massively cut pesticide applications and provides farmers a better product at lower production costs. 

The two guests are Dr. Tony Shelton from Cornell University and science journalist Dr. Hidde Boersma. Together they tell their accounts of the technology and how it has transformed lives of poor farmers in an extremely poor country.