Credit: UBCO

Lavender can create natural pesticides

Kelowna - UBCO professor studies lavender and its use of natural pesticides

While lavender has long been known for its strong scent and soothing oils, a UBC researcher is exploring the plant’s ability to create natural pesticides.

Soheil Mahmoud, an associate professor of biology at UBCO, conducts research on organic compounds found in plants—specifically lavender. While the plant’s oils are said to have a healing, or soothing benefit, Mahmoud said lavender has much more to offer.

“Lavender has proven to be very good at protecting itself through production of antimicrobial and anti-fungal biochemical compounds,” he said. “One of our goals is to identify molecules that are involved in this natural self-defence.”

Using a research field at UBCO, Mahmoud and his team of students are attempting to identify, characterized and clone the specific genes that control the defensive properties of lavender. If this is indeed possible, Mahmoud suggests this may have significant environmental implications, according to UBCO.

Related: Students arrive at UBCO for 2017 school year

Lavenders produce essential oils, he said, and these consist mainly of organic compounds, including an antimicrobial and insecticidal monoterpene named 3-carene. In the latest research, students Ayelign Adal, Lukman Sarker and Ashley Lemke isolated and examined the gene and corresponding enzyme that catalyzes the formation of 3-carene in lavenders.

Traditionally, chemical herbicides or pesticides have been used to control fungal growth or pests like insects. But Mahmoud says this method is becoming less and less desirable as many of the pests and fungi have become resilient to the chemicals used, and as consumers prefer food that is untreated or treated with “natural” pesticides.

“We’ve become much more health conscious,” he said. “There are healthier options instead of spraying chemicals on plants; we just need to explore these. Aromatic plants like lavenders could provide suitable alternatives to chemical–based insecticides”

Mahmoud’s research was recently published in the Plant Molecular Biology journal and was supported through grants and/or in-kind contributions by Genome British Columbia, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture.

Just Posted

More than 1,000 Kelowna residents without power this morning

FortisBC is reporting a power outage in the Ellison area of the Central Okanagan

Minor injuries sustained in Lake Country crash between semi and snow plow

The accident occurred around 6 a.m. this morning

Snow falls in the Central Okanagan, slippery roads for Coquihalla

The winter weather is finally here in the Central Okanagan

Lake Country planner weighs in on politics after growing up during Apartheid

Mark Koch grew up in South Africa during Apartheid

New Lake Country entrance sign vandalized

The district is asking graffiti artists to draw elsewhere

VIDEO: Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Arrest made in case of incapacitated woman who gave birth

A 36-year-old nurse has been arrested and charged with sexual assault

B.C. dairy farmers say milk cup is half full in new Canada Food Guide

Despite what seems like a demotion, B.C. Dairy Association insists its inclusion is still integral

$20K pay gap between women, men in Canadian tech jobs

The report defines tech workers as people either producing or making extensive use of technology, regardless of industry

Catholic student says he didn’t disrespect Native American

Many saw the white teenagers, who had travelled to Washington for an anti-abortion rally, appearing to mock the Native Americans

Closure planned for part of Coquihalla for bridge maintenance

Bridge maintenance will occur between Highway 5A Highway 97C Wednesday

‘No’ respondents are the majority in national park reserve survey

The latest poll also shows that of those surveyed, 75 per cent would like to see a referenedum

Former Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

M’s legend Edgar Martinez, Rivera, Mussina also make the grade

Waters: Speculation tax opt out is a case of guilty until proved innocent

Province uses negative-option billing to let homeowners out of new tax

Most Read