Bacillus Thuringiensis Bacterium

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Bacillus thuringiensis is a spore forming bacterium that produces crystals protein which are toxic to many species of insects. Therefore it is used a natural pesticide. It is naturally occurring throughout the world and its usage is very common. There are thousands of different Bt strains. The kurstaki strain being the most common kills only leaf- and needle-feeding caterpillars. In the last ten years, Bt strains have been mostly used to control the abundance of flies, mosquitoes, black flies, amongst others. When it comes to Bt strains, the target is very specific. The strains for mosquitoes will only target them and not affect other insects. Even though Bt is used in aerial spraying programs and transgenic crops its main usage in organic farming. In 1901 while performing research on Sudden Collapse Disease on silk worms, Japanese biologist Shigetane Ishiwatari discovered Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt originally called Bacillus sotto. It was then rediscovered in 1911 by Ernst Berliner who was researching the cause of death of the moths in Thuringia, Germany, where the name thuringiensis comes from. Berliner’s research overruled Ishiwatari’s research and Bacillus thuringiensis became the bacteria’s name. It was not until 1920 where Bt was reportedly used by farmers who began to spray it in their fields. Later on in 1938, France brought it into the market as a flour moth killer called “Sporine.” Bt products started off struggling because a vast amount of insects were immune

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