Also known at Bt
, this bacteria is widely used as an agricultural pesticide
. It's used on forest
, on nursery plants, around homes, in greenhouse
s, and on food crops including nuts, fruits, vegetable
s, tubers, berries, and grains. It mainly targets moth
larvae, but it also works well on members of diptera
, so it's also used for mosquito
control. Apparently, the bacteria
secretes a protein
that turns insects' insides into a black goo
similar to the alien viruses you might see on the X-files
. One reason for its popularity: it has no known toxic
effect in humans or other mammals.
If it has a bad reputation at all, it is for two reasons: (1) its impact on nontarget species, especially endangered butterflies; and (2) its genes, when spliced into the DNA of crops, like corn, tend to get a lot of publicity.