Nicotine and Sildenafil as a Model for Pesticide Resistance in Agriculture
Modern industrial agriculture relies on a host of chemicals to increase yields and keep costs low. These practices have allowed the western world to enjoy the greatest diversity of available foods that has likely ever been seen in history. To protect crops from environmental threats, herbicides and pesticides are routinely used. Neonicotinoids are a common class of pesticides in use today, and are considered to be analogs of nicotine, though much more potent. Use of fertilizer containing high levels of nitrogen is almost ubiquitous in conventional agriculture. Lab tests involving the use of fruit flies have already been shown to reproduce resistance to nicotine, indicating that resistance to more potent analogs is possible. Some cases of neonicotinoid resistance have already been documented. The presence of sildenafil has also been shown to have an effect on reproduction in the model organism, with some tests showing increased reproduction in flies with increased resistance to nicotine. Sildenafil increases the level of nitric oxide in cells when it is present, and it is possible that fertilizers may have a similar effect, making the use of nicotine and sildenafil in model systems analogous to the interplay of fertilizers and pesticides on the insects that come into contact with them in agricultural settings.
Lynn University Arts and Sciences Student Symposium
Boca Raton, FL
College of Arts and Sciences
MacKoul, R., Baldwin, D., Dawson-Scully, K., & Rowland, K. (2019, March 26). Nicotine and Sildenafil as a model for pesticide resistance in agriculture [Poster presentation]. College of Arts and Sciences Student Symposium, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL, United States.