Saponins – eco-friendly pesticides
As insects can be very damaging to world food production, there is a global need for more effective yet environmentally friendly pesticides. European researchers addressed this need through saponins, a class of naturally occurring plant defence compounds.
Despite the promising potential of saponins as bio-pesticides, little is known about how the chemical structures are toxic to specific pests. The EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships grant SSAR elucidated the relationship between saponin chemical structure and biological activity. “We wanted to identify the most potent saponin chemical structures for use as biopesticides,″ explains project coordinator Søren Bak, Professor at Department of Plant and environmental sciences at University of Copenhagen.