Australians see spider toxin as potent insecticide
Australian researchers have extracted from the Australian tarantuala spider (Selenotypus plumipes) an orally active toxin that has potential as an insecticide or as a plant incorporated protectant in genetically modified crops. The peptide, OAIP-1, has the highest activity recorded to date for an insecticidal venom toxin, the researchers point out. It exhibits activity against cotton bollworms (Helicoverpa armigera) that is similar to synthetic pyrethroid insecticides and has synergistic activity with neonicotinoids. This is understood to be the first time that an insecticidal venom peptide has been isolated using an assay based on oral activity. Since OAIP-1 is a genetically encoded peptide toxin, it should be possible to engineer transgenes encoding OAIP-1 into plants, the researchers note. They believe that it might be a good candidate for stacking with Bt toxins and is likely to have a broader range of insecticidal activity than Bt.