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Nitrogen fertilizer ‘could prevent locust swarms’
by Li Jiao
A surprising finding promises a cheap and environmentally friendly way of controlling locust swarms, a major plague that devastates crops around the world.
Land erosion caused by heavy livestock grazing promotes locust swarms by lowering the nitrogen content in plants that locusts feed on, according to a study published in Science today (27 January).
Conversely, the study also found that locusts do not thrive on nitrogen-rich food, as previously thought, but are in fact hampered by it.
“Nitrogen fertiliser – which plants use to make protein – may be an inexpensive, more environmentally friendly pest control solution for this species,” said the lead author Arianne Cease, a researcher at Arizona State University, United States.