Qatar University researchers develop a wide range of natural bio-pesticides

Qatar University researchers develop a wide range of natural bio-pesticides

Qatar Living
By Qatar Living

For a very long period of time chemical pesticides have been used as pest control agents for protecting plants and humans. However, there is a growing concern of the negative effects these substances have because of their harmful and toxic nature.

In light of this matter, researchers at Qatar University (QU) have collaborated with WHO Collaborating Center at the University of Montpellier in France to develop a wide range of biopesticides using nonpathogenic, friendly, and natural bacteria which have been isolated from Qatar soil. 

Biopesticides are natural molecules acting efficiently and specifically on the targeted pathogens. They are considered a safe alternative to chemical pesticides, as they are harmless to humans, the environment, and food chains. 

Prof. Samir Jaoua, the Project leader Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Biotechnology at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sc., College of Arts and Sciences (QU), had explained the urgent need for these alternatives as chemical pesticides can accumulate in the environment and cause several diseases to humans, should we continue to use them.

Prof. Samir has been working on the project with his collaborators Dr. Roda Al-Thani, Dhabia Al-Thani, Fatima Al-Yafei, Abeer Al-Mohannadi, Dr. Zahoor Ul Hassan, Prof. Quirico Migheli, and QU Ph.D. and MSc students Kavita Nair, Randa Zeidan, and Reem Al-Asmar. 

This team, along with many other students, set up and produced different types of biopesticides to potentially use them in regional bio-industries, “to protect the environment and save human and animal lives, while also efficiently and safely controlling pests and disease vectors,” Prof. Samir noted.

Prof. Samir believes that these research results, having been partly published in tens of publications, could be highly impactful.

“We have been isolating and investigating bacterial strains from local Qatar soils and using microbiological and molecular tools to explore them and produce biomolecules of interest. The hundreds of bacterial strains that we have isolated from local soil in Qatar are adapted to this environment and many similar environments in the world.”

Commenting on the particular perks of using Qatar soil, Prof. Samir said, “Qatar soil is a source of microbial gene bank that can be used to produce a huge number of molecules of industrial interests.

“At QU’s College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, we have isolated a collection of more than 700 bacterial and fungal strains, all very friendly to the environment and producing many molecules of interest. This microbial biobank is a source of molecules that can initiate bioindustries in Qatar,” he added.

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Source: The Peninsula
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