October 27, 2010
Tobacco And Its Evil Cousin, Nicotine? They’re Good — As A Pesticide!
Tobacco, used on a small scale as a natural organic pesticide for hundreds of years, is getting new scientific attention as a potential mass-produced alternative to traditional commercial pesticides. That's the topic of a report in ACS' bi-weekly journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.
Cedric Briens and colleagues note that concerns about the health risks of tobacco have reduced demand and hurt tobacco farmers in some parts of the world. Scientists are looking for new uses for tobacco. One potential use is as a natural pesticide, due to tobacco's content of toxic nicotine. For centuries, gardeners have used home-made mixtures of tobacco and water as a natural pesticide to kill insect pests. A "green" pesticide industry based on tobacco could provide additional income for farmers, and as well as a new eco-friendly pest-control agent, the scientists say.
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