KSEF KCF: Integration of Double Stranded RNA into Baiting System: A Novel Genetic Control Strategy for Termites

Grants and Contracts Details


There are over 2,500 species of termites patrolling on this planet. Because of their unique capabilities of digesting lingnocellulose, termites truly represent a double-edged sword, for without them the mother earth likely would have been littered with dead woods. On the other hand, wood-eating termites are considered as lone of the most destructive insect pests in the world. The annual economic cost of infrastructural damages in urban areas is approx. $15-20 billion worldwide. When combining with the damage to agricultural commodities and forestry resources, the overall cost exceeds $30 billion per year. The cryptic nature and tenacious foraging behavior of termites pose a real challenge to control efforts. For years, termite treatments have been primarily relied on synthetic chemicals. Millions of gallons of liquid soil insecticide have been applied around perimeters of buildings to block all potential entries of termites. Compare to the traditional "barrier" soil treatment, a more environment sensible approach is through baiting, which involves recruiting termites to feed on cellulosic substrates impregnated with low concentrations of slow-acting insecticides. In order to reduce our reliance on broad-spectrum termiticides and expedite the speed of colony elimination through baiting, we invented a non-chemical genetic active ingredient to replace insecticide component in the bating system. Here, the actual active agent is a double stranded ribonucleic acid (dsRNA), a genetic messenger between DNA and protein. By interrupting the message transferring processes, challenged organisms will lose certain functions, in some cases, result in death. Such phenomena are called RNA interference (RNAi), and this is the underlying control mechanism of dsRNA. The advantages of this genetic active ingredient over its insecticide counterpart on the market today are its selectivity (termite specific), effectiveness (faster-acting), and safeness for non-target organisms and ecosystems (minimum or no known impacts).
Effective start/end date1/1/0912/31/11


  • KY Science and Technology Co Inc: $102,500.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.