Bacillus Thuringiensis, A Useful Bacterium for Agriculture

Editorials News | Jun-19-2018

Bacillus Thuringiensis, A Useful Bacterium for Agriculture

Bacillus thuringiensis is a bacterium which is used in many insecticides and pesticides. It has the potential to terminate the insects that are harmful for the crops, forests or agriculture. This living microorganism is a part of the family of bacteria. This bacterium can cause death of the larvae of caterpillars, mosquitoes and beetles as it has the ability to produce such proteins which can react to the gut lining of the insect larvae that leads to paralysis of the insect and death due to starvation. The proteins of the dead bacteria are also useful and can act like insecticides. Some crops like corn and cotton, have been genetically modified by inserting the BT genes in them. This bacterium only kills the harmful insects, it does not harm the useful beneficial insects at all. The advantage of this bacterium is that it does not harm the pets, humans and animals.

Although this bacterium is very beneficial, but it has some disadvantages too. The biggest flaw of this bacterium is that it degrades in the presence of sunlight. Scientists are doing research to resolve this problem by inserting the protein crystal into other bacterial species which can retain longer. Though BT kills all the harmful insects, but it works quite slowly as it firstly attacks the insect gut, and then the death of the insect may occur due to starvation. The agriculturists using it, may get disappointed after some days when they observe that the insects are not yet died. The effectiveness of products of BT declines after two or three years and they do not have a long-life span.

By: Divya Thakur